Yesterday’s game at The Hawthorns not only gave the Reds an important three away points and a welcome clean sheet, but it also gave us a glimpse of this and that, some for the present, some for the future, worth churning up some considerations on.
Let’s begin with the medium to long term one. Yesterday we got a realistic glimpse of life without Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Now, before anyone comes out guns blazing, I am conscious of the fact that both of them, especially Stevie, have a couple of more years of football in their legs (albeit not at the level we had been accustomed to!), but yes, we played a solid game in a venue which is never easy for anyone and I think we did a pretty decent job of it, without both of our living legends. Consequently, I think Adam improved a notch not playing in Stevie’s long shadow and gave an improved performance: and how can you not perform when you have someone like Lucas Leiva in support and tying up all the loose ends?
We also saw a much improved tandem performance from Suarez and Carroll, not that ‘El Pistolero’ has not been delivering the goods game in game out. Our ‘worry’ was Carroll, but goal aside (born out of pure persistence) the lanky Englishman’s game is in effect gaining momentum! Suarez is a guarantee, the player everyone envies us, but if Carroll’s progression is constant, we will all, me included, forget the price tag paid and we will start reaping the rewards. Andy Carroll may well become another Liverpool legend in the making.
I don’t know if it was a case of microphone positioning or anything of the sort, but with Carra’s terrifying screams not on show yesterday, Pepe Reina’s marshalling voice was very predominant and it could well be that organizing the defense from his position (with all four plus defensive midfielder in full view) could well have fruited us a rare clean sheet. Another glimpse into the future is Pepe Reina’s inheritance of the captaincy post-Gerrard. Possibly Lucas will be name vice-captain and boy does the lad deserve it!
I cannot avoid a mention of Daniel Agger here. At this point in time, the classy Dane is the only centre-back we have that offers the class and vision worthy of a rock-solid defensive formation. Carragher evokes concentration and passion, Skrtel is rugged, Coates is a still a rough diamond, but Agger remains the only one capable of providing that touch of class and finesse that puts him a span in front of his colleagues. If he can miraculously stay away from injuries, I see him and Coates (or Gary Cahill…..) forming a formidable centre-back partnership for the next five years minimum!
A last mention goes to a subject that has been front-page as far as the Reds are concerned: luck! I have been writing that for me, luck rewards the bold and the brave, and yesterday, bold and brave we certainly were. We took the game by the scruff of the neck and aside from an understandable latish resurgence from Albion, the Reds were in control from the word go. We might have been a wee bit lucky getting that penalty, not because it was or it wasn’t, but because the referee waved play on while his assistance had the balls to flag it: now how many times does that happen? For the sake of the argument that favourable decision was compounded by a clear hand-ball by Reid from a Carroll effort which the officials preferred to ignore. We were bold, we were brave, and we deserved having luck on our side!
Final note! Why is it that we play Stoke City on Wednesday and then we play West Brom on Saturday, while our Wednesday opponents play Monday night? Probably a TV or fixture related glitch but does not seem fair does it? But then we are Liverpool Football Club, and that is why we spent well to have depth in squad, right?