Absence makes the heart fonder.
Through the Anfield tunnel, down the steps, touching the sign, and walking out to the crowd in full rapture. This was what it meant for Kenny Dalglish. An emotive return.
As television cameras captured a momentous occasion which was beamed to a global audience worldwide, chills sent down the spines of millions. It hasn’t sunk in, but it has now. Dalglish strode to his hot seat, the very place he once reigned 20 years ago, stood up, beaming with pride.
And also perhaps fine-tuning his voice to keep up with a moving rendition for the anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Then he proceeded to embrace his opposition counterpart, David Moyes, with a warm smile.
In the backdrop a mere distance away, The Kop unfurled banners in tribute to the King. Many sang the same sheets of praise in the hot seat, and Fields of Anfield Road bellowed through the four walls of Anfield, with one special verse belting through the roofs of The Kop.
Again, this was what it meant. An emotive return.
‘At the end of a storm, there’s a golden sky’. The turbulent tide of crisis in Liverpool’s history is finished. Under the anxious on-looking eye of John Henry, his wife, and Tom Werner, a golden sky stood up above in the heavens.
The 215th Merseyside Derby was filled with passion, gritty determination, and end to end action. Fernando Torres, weaving his magic wand through Everton’s defence, started off proceedings with his shot saved by Howard just under 9 seconds.
He continued tormenting. Distin was next to fall victim to Torres, whose superb improvisation left his Evertonian counterpart trailing in his foot steps. A magical turn from Liverpool’s No 9 deceived Heitinga, and with a swing of the left foot, the ball crashed against the bar.
This was a rejuvenated man, keen on having a 100th league outing to remember. Glimpses of brilliance shone through, although he has some way to go before he regains his old self.
Liverpool’s attacking verve paid off just under the hour mark. Spearing, a surprise inclusion by Kenny, combined well with Johnson, who maruded down the left flank. He sent in a teasing ball which found Kuyt. Howard. Save. Save. Yet there was no denying Meireles to pile one of his trademark drives into the roof of the net. This time a helpless Howard flapped his arms in desperation, which clearly vindicated the relentless pressure of the Liverpool attack.
Liverpool continued to dominate proceedings in the first half, but were denied by Howard’s heroics and it was perhaps a pity that Liverpool went into the break just 1-0 up.
Less than a minute into the restart and Everton found themselves back in the game. A corner found Distin, who gleefully plunged head in and lashed Everton back on level terms. Skrtel was found out, once again. Perhaps it’s time to drop a player who is currently suffering from a severe lack of confidence.
On 51 minutes, Beckford put Everton’s noses in front after a clincal finish. Kelly was battered but the referee saw no wrong in it, the static Liverpool defence ball watched as the Bitters combined superbly to provide a clear cut opportunity for Beckford, who answered his critics in the most emphatic fashion.
There was yet still more drama to be unfolded. Maxi was tripped by Howard in the penalty area and up stepped Kuyt, who sent Howard the wrong way from 12 yards.
As both sides poured forward in vain for a winning goal, and a three points, they fell apart in the final third of each half. There was no fairy tale ending for Kenny’s first game in charge at Anfield. But the football on display was purposeful, and a mile away from the Hodgson’s days where timid football was on show.
Even though there were no three points on Kenny’s day, we’re all headed in the right direction, safe in the knowledge that the club is in the right hands.