First of all, pardon the pun on the title. I just can’t help it! Last night’s victory felt so incredibly good. Not just because of the result but the way the result was achieved. The players hustled like their lives depended on it, running after every ball and every Spurs player like a rabid pack of hunting wolves. Something we fans have been asking of the team since the season begun. Suddenly everyone of them looked like they gave a damn. So much for reports of Rafa losing the dressing room then. So right now, I will try to give some reasons on why we won:
– Alberto Aquilani
The Roman gladiator was played in his natural position, his ‘Roma’ position and how he revelled in it. Finally looking like the playmaker that ought to replace Xabi, Aqui-man showed us why Rafa was willing to pay 20m for him and being so patient with him. Him & Dirk Kuyt formed our first wall of defence, closing down on the Spurs defenders every time they got the ball. He was influential in offence and pivotal in our first goal. Threading through passes for fun, he will be a main asset in our attacking plays in coming games.
– Dirk Kuyt
Kuyt did what he was originally signed by Rafa for: to score goals. Never giving up and chasing down every ball, no cause is lost for him. He must have the lungs of a horse for him to perform all that running! Wrongly ostracized by media and fans alike after his indifferent form earlier in the season, Kuyt should finally silenced the critics with last night’s performance. In Torres’s absence, I believe Kuyt should be our focal striker now that we got Maxi in who can cover him in right midfield.
– Philip Degen
When Rafa first signed him I have to admit that I thought Degen was a player unfit to don the Liverpool shirt. His injury track record made my point so much stronger. But I am eating my words full now, seeing his performance last night.He was strong and pacey. Though at times his runs were aimless, he did provide an attacking threat down the right flank. Wish his crosses were better though and not forgetting his decision-making. When put through by Kuyt in a counter attack movement instead of putting his foot through the ball and smashing it goalwards, he chose to lay it back for Kuyt and the attack broke down. If he continues to play like he did, he could prove to be an able deputy for the injured Glen Johnson
– Jamie Carragher
In Gerrard’s absence, everyone looks to Carra to carry the team and he did so magnificiently last night. Rallying his troops making sure they stick to the gameplan, he was the epitome of the hard running, hard tackling play by the team. Captain Marvel indeed.
– Sotiris Krygiakos
My Man-Of-The-Match. Playing like a Greek God instead of the fumbling mess of a defender that played against Lyon, Kry looked like a totally different player. Putting in two solid games back-to-back now, Kry could still make it to be one of the best buys of the league alongside another defender, Arsenal’s Thomas Vermalen. He proved to be a Kry-tonite against the Spurs forward line, sweeping up everything they threw his way.
– Rafa’s tactics
When the lineup was annouced, I bet almost all Liverpool fan went “Oh No! Not again!”. Playing 2 defensive holding midfielders at home in a must-win game!? The blasphemy!! But Rafa proved once again why he is a wily tactician. Spurs midfield were hustled down, preventing Kranjcar, Palacios and Modric to play their normal game. Aquilani played his part too and was instrumental in the success of the formation played, quickly turning defence to offence everytime he gets the ball. Rafa’s instructions was presumably to close down the opposition and not to give them time on the ball because with players like Kranjcar and Palacios, they can really hurt us if they have possesion of it. Hence, each time a Spurs players had the ball, as much as 3 Liverpool players were close to him. Rafa’s tactics worked so great that Harry Redknapp had to resort to making 3 tactical substitutions to change the game and none of it worked. Where was Keane again? N’gog had more of an impact than he did!
– The 12th Man
Anfield was a cauldron of sight and sound for the match. It was filled with the kind of atmosphere that was usually reserved for our European nights. The fans were out in full force and made sure that Rafa and the players heard them. As I was watching it on the telly a thousand miles away, I could hear the roar, the chants and the songs of the Kop loud and clear, almost drowning out the commentary! I bet it gave a massive lift to the players, raising their morale. It was to let them know we, fans are 100% behind them and we can take the game and oh how the players responded.
Some of you might argue this but I believe we finally got the lil’ bit of luck that’s been owed to us all season. Harry Redknapp was highlighted before the match how he thought the postponement of the game worked in his favour. How wrong he was. Spurs definitely missed Aaron Lennon more then we missed Gerrard & Torres. If Lennon had been playing, I’m sure Insua, though of no discredit to him, will be given a torrid time down his left flank. The referee also finally awarded us a penalty after so many stone-walled ones were refused against us, although I reckoned Lucas had a stronger case in the Stoke game than N’gog had in this one. Another day it might not even be given but it did and how Kuyt disposed it..twice. I always believed in the fact that you make your own luck and with how the team performed, we definitely made our own luck this time around.
So on to Wolves then.. and just a point from fourth spot. Hope the players will perform like this onwards and the fans to never stop singing and take back what’s ours – a Champions League spot! Again, crisis?! What crisis??