Last night was the start of a very crucial week of Liverpool’s season. Of course, the motivation this time was to stay in touch with 4th position and overturn a 1-0 deficit in the Europa League against a relatively lesser opponent, considering last year, our do or die week consisted of two mammoth ties- Real Madrid and Man utd and we were fighting for the European cup and the league. Yes, the league.
However despite everything that has happened this season, we had reached a point where we had to play with our heads held high and show something that has been absent for a while- Intent. And boy, did the team respond in style! OK, it was ‘just’ Portsmouth I know, but the fact remains that the brand of football displayed by the team last night has left us asking for more. Some of the passing, movement and the fancy flicks and tricks could have easily made any Arsenal side look drab and lethargic! Every player on the field looked simmering with confidence, right from Pepe Reina with those couple of brilliant saves he made when he would have been forgiven for having fallen asleep with the lack of activity in his half, to Fernando Torres, who’s attitude and body language were top notch today!
Perfect start to this week. Next up, Lille at Anfield. Selecting the team for this match might be complicated considering we have United at Old Trafford around the corner. So what should be done? I feel, this is a game meant for Aquilani again. We’re at home, need to score goals by unlocking their defence. he could hold the key for us this Thursday. Also with one eye on Sunday, It would be a decent bet to start Kelly to keep Johnson ready for sunday, after all Kelly has clearly shown us what he’s made of, in the Champions League. Also, the option of resting Gerrard and playing Yossi as the trequartista can be considered too. Im confident that with these changes, the team will still have enough to see through Lille and yet have two-three key players fresh and worked up to give problems to United.
Basically, the ball is in Rafa’s court now. His selections for the Lille game will indirectly determine how we fare at Old Trafford. With Some shrewd team selection that could see the right players play the right games, (like Lucas would shine at against Man utd, for his break up play could help Liverpool Nullify United’s midfield but might not help the cause against Lille) I feel we have the necessary players, and now the confidence to go to Manchester and get a result, thereby kick starting our bid to win the remaining 8 games and giving us fans some reason to cheer in this otherwise Forgettable season.
You’ll Never Walk Alone,