We are an hour removed from a Liverpool victory, and a convincing one at that. Torres showing lethal form, Babel impressing for one of the first times in a while, Aquilani showing us examples for why Rafa paid £20 million for him, Rodqiguez proving why he may be one of the best free transfer deals of recent memory, and a lot more.
Critics may say “it was only Portsmouth, the bottom team who are already in administration and have nothing to play for” well I disagree with the end part of the statement. Nothing to play for? Pride is a massive thing to play for, especially when they are rooted to the bottom of the table. I genuinley feel sorry for Pompey this year, had a hellish season and have nothing to show as far as positives go. So tonight, travelling to near enough the other side of England, had to show the 300+ there was some spirit left. A Premiership game was never going to be easy, but this was as close as it came tonight.
Pompey came out of the traps and shown some good spirit, coming onto us, giving us some pressure. It amounted to nothing, but they still shown heart. Then, the screw began to turn in Liverpool’s favour. Aquilani coming close with a volley, Gerrard with a couple of half chances until El Nino opened the scoring after a goalkeeping howler, Gerrard worked hard to close the keeper down, Maxi played a simple ball to Torres for a tap in and his 14th of the season.
2 and a half minutes later, barely time to breathe, Liverpool made it 2. Good work inside the box, and the ball fell to sometimes Liverpool outcast Ryan Babel, who stroked the ball into the far corner and gave us some much needed breathing space, which we have been lacking in most games this year.
The third was soon to come, absolute brilliance from Torres, with a lovely backheel into the path of Aquilani who slotted it past
We did make it 4 though, and that man again, Fernando Torres. For me, the pick of the goals, nice ball fed through to him, but he still had work to do, beating 2 defenders before rocketting a shot into the net, game well and truely over.
Pompey did grab a late consolation goal with Belhadj with a simple tap in, but more importantly to us, the defending for it wasnt the best by a long shot.
The game finished 4-1 and a true reflection and well deserved.
There is one other incident I’m going to mention, the Gerrard foul on Michael Brown. TV replays clearly show Stevie going into the back of Brown with an elbow, obviously illegal and usually a straight red. As much of a dirty player Brown was with Stevie tonight, and he was. (The rugby tackle in the first half shows that) you cannot raise your arms to an opponent. There was no need for it as we were attacking and could have capitalised. My only hope is that the FA do not decide to act upon it. IF they do, they should look at the rugby tackle used on Stevie in the first half!
All in all, a solid performance by Liverpool. A lot of reasons to be confident for the next couple of crucial games. But with that being said, I pose the same question I posed in the title of this post. Is that the turning point in form now? For me it is about self belief. The team (which was one of the strongest Rafa has put out for a while) came out with a great attacking mentality and really shown their dominance tonight. There is no point in Rafa putting a defensive minded side out on Thursday, ‘cos we are chasing the game. Stick with the side as tonight, and let’s attack Lille with everything we have! Yeah Lille have a great home record, but how will they fare when they arrive at the European fortress that as Anfield? My guess not too well! Then after that on Sunday we have Man United in their back yard. For that, I give tou three words. Remember last season. This week can be a major turning point in our season, and tonight was a major step in the right direction!
I have one question? Were are the Rafa haters now? Hmmmm….
My man of the match tonight, goes to one man. Yeah Torres gave us 2 goals, Babel impressed, but tonight was all about Alberto Aquilani. His determination tonight was immense, and scoring his first goal was the icing on the cake. His vision was brilliant, and was great to see him play 90 minutes. Aquaman is unleashed, and next season, watch him shine! No-one can judge him on this season as he joined us after 9 months inured. You go 9 months without playing, with sub-standard medical care and then be expected to play like a man possessed staight away. Impossible. He didn’t ask Rafa to pay £20million for him, so it is unfair how he should be under so much pressure straight away. But he did show signs of why Rafa did spend so much on him tonight.
So my fellow Kopites, were now? The quarter finals of the Europa League, that is were! The Anfield fortress will not be stormed by Lille, instead they will be the latest in the long line of teams to buckled at ‘one of those special European nights at Anfield’. Then 3 days later…it’s down the M62 to make it the theatre of nightmares one more time!
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Thanks for reading guys, YNWA!