ENGLAND can be proud of Liverpool. Merseyside certainly is. In becoming the second English side to bring the European Cup home, they comprehensively accounted for Borussia Moenchengladbach.
In the end the scoreboard said it all with just one word in capital letters - LIVERPOOL..
Emlyn Hughes and his team of heroes will never forget this night in Rome, for the massed thousands gave them a tremendous salutation as they paraded the cup before them.
Liverpool had proved themselves Europe's finest team, and if there had been an award for the finest supporters then Liverpool would have won that as well with just as great a margin.
Liverpool, deprived of their fabulous treble chance by Manchester United on Saturday, achieved the unique double of becoming English champions and European champions in the same season. It was a mark of their tremendous ability that this was the second successive season in which they have gained a double. Last season it was the league and the UEFA Cup.
Liverpool fans can now chant with pride and authority what they have been rehearsing for weeks - "Champions of Europe".
Liverpool proved their tremendous nervelessness, for after losing the lead given them by Terry McDermott, they stormed back in the second half with a leading goal from veteran Tommy Smith, whose 600th and final game this was. To complete the picture Phil Neal, the penalty king, slotted the ball home after Kevin Keegan had been fouled.
By contrast with the Germans, highly nervous and lacking confidence in their own ability, Liverpool dropped into top gear from the start and stayed there.
Only when the Germans gained their equaliser through Simonsen did they spring into action. To them it was like the kiss of life, but Liverpool weathered the storm and all came right in the end.
Keegan in his farewell flourish wrote his name over this game. Borussia's ace defender, experienced international Vogts, made Keegan's total subjection his night's work. He stuck as closely to him as the jersey on his back.
That he coped at all for so long was due to the referee's benevolent interpretation of blatant pushes in the back, but he paid the final penalty by conceding a penalty kick. It was McDermott who emerged as Liverpool's first scoring hero after 27 minutes when a goal was so badly needed.
There was all the similarity of Wembley, with Liverpool in control but leaving everyone fearful of a replay, with Borussia in the villain's role instead of Manchester United.
THE decision to play Ian Callaghan in midfield was a triumph for manager Bob Paisley's judgment, for, like the rest of the middle, his was a dominant part in winning possession and using it in inspired style in his 13th season and 83rd game in Europe - an English record.
He it was who stole possession from Bonhof at half way in 27 minutes. The German disdained to follow and off went the pass to Heighway. He jinked inside and placed the perfect pass in front of the fast-running McDermott, who beat the out-coming Kneib with a precision placing. For fully half a minute the jubilant fans filled the air with the chanting of the name of their scoring hero as they sensed that here were the beginnings of a Roman holiday.
It might all have been very much different, for Liverpool's goal was saved by no more than an inch or so after 22 minutes when Bonhoff beat Clemence's dive only to find the ball thudding back off the post.
The Germans were as jumpy as kangaroos as Liverpool's ascendancy tightened and their fans appeared to have lost their voices. In contrast, the singing, chanting and cheering was continuous from the Liverpool crowd who made their end of the ground like a red cloud reaching up into the sky.
Maybe it was the red jerseys that did it, but last night's display was as redblooded and efficient as we have come to expect from this all-conquering combination.
The game was stood on its head in 55 minutes when a misplaced Case pass was picked up by Simonsen who beat Clemence with a perfect drive from the corner of the box.
It was then that the Germans subjected Liverpool to their most nervous minutes, for twice they had scoring chances, the better one being when Clemence failed to cut out a cross and Simonsen had the goal at his mercy.
Just short of the hour, Liverpool claimed strongly for a penalty when Vogts brought down Keegan, but the referee ruled play on. Liverpool were still not out of the wood and they had an escape when Clemence on 63 minutes beat out a Stielike shot with his knees as the German centre forward was running clear from Simonsen's cross.
Simonsen was almost the only spark of German hope, but the creeping doubts dissolved into thin air after 64 minutes when Tommy Smith marked his farewell display by stealing forward for a Heighway corner kick. He thundered the ball into the net with an unstoppable header.
Now the Germans had to go over the top in the hope of mounting a stabilising raid and, having already shown their teeth, Liverpool had to meet the assault with all guns blazing. This they did, and it was only a question of minutes before the ascendancy was regained.
By this time the Liverpool fans had no doubt. They were sending up rockets - and they were not rockets of distress. With 10 minutes to go, Moenchengladbach played their last ace by introducing their second substitute.
David Fairclough had trotted round as if ready to take part, but it would have been an injustice to have withdrawn any of the 11 Liverpool heroes.Everybody was happy when Fairclough resumed his seat on the substitutes' bench. What a team performance this was, with not a doubtful link anywhere. The crown fits snugly where it belongs.
Vogts, continuing to foul his way through the game, did it once too often as a superb run took Keegan into the penalty area.
THERE was no hesitation by the referee in pointing to the spot, for Keegan was in a scoring position for what would have been his 100th goal for the club, and when about to drive home was unceremoniously felled. On 82 minutes, Neal slotted home goal number three from the spot, and it was all over.
Anfield has never seen greater enthusiasm and more flag and banner waving than the Liverpudlians put on for the Italians last night. The Germans, well beaten, lost their heads and Stielike's name went into the referee's book.
LIVERPOOL: Clemence, Neal, Jones, Smith, Kennedy, Hughes, Keegan, Case, Heighway, Callaghan, McDermott.
BORUSSIA MOENCHENGLADBACH: Kneib, Vogts, Klinkhammer, Wittkamp, Bonhof, Wohlers (Hannes) Simonsen, Wimmer (Kulik), Stielike, Schaeffer, Heynckes.
REFEREE: Mr R Wurtz (France)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Kevin Keegan - Ran Vogts ragged until coaxing the German into the foul challenge that sealed this glorious success
By Horace Yates at The Olympic Stadium