While watching the game at the Stadium of Light I could not help but go through various considerations on the individual performance of players and also on what shape the team might take at least in the run in to the final match of the season.
Confirmations come a-plenty! What to say of Luis ‘El Pistolero’ Suarez! Raw talent, exquisite technique, mindboggling skill, pure bliss! Carroll…ah, now here is what makes it interesting. The lad has brought to Liverpool what has been lacking for quite some time. Power, both on the ground and especially in the air! He may not be the most rapid forward, but what he lacks in sheer speed he makes up in brut power! Finally, we have a player that will be dominant in the air in any game. A true reference point for all the tactical attacking geometries! Torres in exchange for the Suarez/Carroll tandem has worked both financially, as well as on the pitch. This could possibly be the deal of the decade!
What about Merseyside boy Jay Spearing! Not only did he run his socks off, he procured a dubious penalty and almost scored a picture goal with a strong venomous striker from just outside the box. Spearing gave in his shift wholeheartedly and deserves credit for rising to the occasion like he did. I don’t think I’d be re-discovering the wheel here if I claim that Liverpool’s defense with Daniel Agger forming part of it is a much stronger and tight unit. And then, we have no other centre back that is able to come out of defense with the ball the way he does….I mean no-where close!
Dirk Kuyt is……Dirk Kuyt! The Dutchman is a typical footballer with the genes of a 50-km marathon champion. He irks us all with the huge quantity of dubious first touches and possession loss in each game, but then he makes up for it with one single quality: generosity! How many people dismissed Lucas Leiva off last season and even the one before that? Sell him, sell him was the cry! Fortunately these cries fell on deaf ears because if a Brazilian can ever convert himself into a Scouser, then this Brazilian, blue eyes and blonde hair included, is the right candidate. Congrats for your newborn and another commanding performance.
It was not the typical pass and move game for us, at least not until we got the second goal, but then Sunderland were out not to let us impose our game. We were patient, we were tight at the back and almost never in real danger, and when it was time to strike, strike we did! Pity Carroll had that goal-line clearance, as I would have loved to see the reaction of the home crowd at being punished by who will not be a life-long nemesis having played for their hated neighbours. Reina was very rarely ever called on thanks to some tight defending from the back four and the brilliant damping work done by Lucas and Spearing just in from of them.
I must admit I was a bit skeptical before the game. Sunderland were in fact within striking distance of us and I feared a repeat of the West Ham game. It was not to be, and we came away with three points which gets us 2 points closer to 5th, since West Ham thankfully held Spurs to a draw at White Hart Lane. Eight games to go and the next obstacle another away game to West Brom…..and a visit to Roy Hodgson’s troupe! Now that will be interesting…………….!