I thought I’d give us all a couple of days to simmer down from what was an awe-inspiring Monday night showing from our Reds. I am usually one of the first to come on here and let off steam when I feel the Reds have not been up to it, so it’s only fair and logical that I heap praise on them where this praise is deserved….thoroughly.
Let’s start by saying that it was a ‘perfect’ night in every sense of the word. There were so many positives I would almost be inclined to deem it flawless. The Hillsborough remembrance, the solidarity with the Fairclough family, the starting berth for young Liverpool lad Flanagan and then, a jam packed Anfield in full song.
So Anfield was buzzing, but from kick-off all eleven Reds bar Reina (will explain later….!) were fizzing! It was one of those nights that after the first ten/fifteen minutes you say, ‘this is the night!’ It seemed evident that the Reds were on another level and that Man City where in for a torrid time. I kept telling myself ‘I don’t know what Kenny told them before hitting the turf, but it must have been highly motivating!’
A special word of mention for young Flanagan, because this was a special night he will not easily forget! Trusted by your Manager, encouraged by your team-mates, and applauded at each touch of the ball by the Anfield faithful is nothing short of unbelievably special. Carroll! What to say? Well, at 22 and costing Stg 35 million or thereabouts, if this is just the start, than what we paid for him was a bloody bargain. Suarez!?! I understand he has technique, I comprehend he is a constant menace to any defense, but to also see him go down to the half way line and beyond, pick the ball and drag the whole Liverpool team behind him was something to behold. Now for the Carroll/Suarez duo! It’s only been a couple of months and they already are the envy of many. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that things can and will only get better.
Another special mention for Jay ‘Atomic Bug’ Spearing and Lucas ‘Blondie’ Leiva! They certainly sent their respective detractors reeling didn’t day. I could not help smiling when I saw little Spearing winning crunching tackles with the gigantic Yaya Toure. I don’ know what materials they have in their socks, but on the night, both lads battled and mastered the midfield with ease. Well done!
Kuyt and Meireles underwent huge personal tactical sacrifice to support, supply, create and interdict, with the Dutchman scoring a sublime goal while the Portuguese confirmed all the good we have been reading and seeing even though he was intrinsically out of position.
Carra and Skrtel were solid, with our veteran vice-captain marshalling the back four in a way that rarely gave Man City the opportunity to be dangerous. Aurelio, just back from injury, gave a fantastic shift and put in a sterling performance notwithstanding that he was perhaps harshly yellow-carded quite early in the game. Did I forget anyone??? Err….yes I did…Reina! Never really troubled but was there the one time he was called upon and otherwise was fantastic with his legwork and distribution.
Yes, a truly magical night. Now back to reality and to analyze what this result translates too in terms of the Premier League table and the final run-in. Yesterday’s result dented Man City CL pretentions, and with Spurs having a game in hand and now only three points adrift the equation becomes a tad more complex. The Reds are five points adrift from Spurs and eight from City. Spurs still have to play Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool! In comparison, City’s path seems to be less steep. The Reds too have it theoretically easier on paper, with Arsenal (A), Birmingham (H), Newcastle (H), Fulham (A), Spurs (H) and Aston Villa (A) all in the way between us and a possible 5th place finish. Instead of asking if we will or will not make it how about giving the Reds the benefit of the doubt until the mathematics say ‘YES WE CAN!’