Liverpool’s captain did it again – scored – and created his own piece of history. Over 35 000 fans came to the stadium in Bucharest to see the match between Unirea Urziceni and Liverpool FC. And all of them could witness Stevie’s historical strike. In 57thminute he made the red victory complete: Urziceni 1 – Liverpool 3.
Gerrard’s achievement was to take his place in the record books as the highest-scoring British player in Europe as Liverpool made it into the last 16 of the Europa League, having survived a minor scare against Unirea Urziceni. Gerrard’s goal was his 33rd in European competition.
“It’s really good and positive for him and the club,” said Benítez. “It also shows that as a club we are playing a lot of games in Europe and hopefully we can play more games this season and he can score more goals. It is an historic club and to have a record like this is massive for him, but it is massive for the club, too, because it means it recognises our achievements in playing so often in Europe. “We have that tradition and we are proud, and we want to continue to give him more chances in Europe this season by going as far as possible.”
Stevie took this fact quite cool and once more underlined the fact that, for him, the team counts the most. As is wrote in on of my recent post, Gerrard is a real team player, a real captain who’s always trying to help his club.
That’s what he said after the game:
“It’s always nice to break records from a personal point of view. I’ve been working really hard to get back among the goals, but the most important thing was to get through to the next round.”
A real team player.
“We showed character,” added Rafa Benitez. “We knew it could be a difficult game because the pitch was very bad, and to concede the goal was a bad start. We needed to be calm.”
Urziceni started to play well organised and, for a while, they dominated the pitch. But after Mascherano’s “bomb” – a brilliant goal from distance – and Ryan Babbel’s neat close-range effort the Reds woke up and started to push forward. And once the Argentina player had equalised — and finaly registered an away goal, the balance of the tie shifted entirely in Liverpool’s favour. They had to survivea couple of hairy moments but their passage to the next round became more comfortable with every passing minute.
“I think once we scored a goal everything was easier,” said the coach after the match. “The second and third goals made things even better. Still we had some problems but the main thing was to score; we did it and we had more control of the game.”
Oh yes, the poor Romanian keeper. He was so buffled after Mascherano hit the ball into the net. As well as the rest of the team and the viewers also! And a bit later Ryan shot the next unexpected one…
By the way … If we’re talking about “ the babel”- Ryan Babbel was really surprised after his goal and wasn’t really sure if it did count or not. Did you noticed that? First thing he’ve done was to take a look at the referee to get sure that the goal counts. Anyway, generally speaking, it was an excellent action, an instinctive piece of control in a crowded penalty area. We want to see more!
It was a serious performance from both teams and a good spectacle for the audience which was so different from the encounter with Manchester City last Sunday.
Summing up: the interventions of Babel and Mascherano might have been the highlights, but, as he has done on countless occasions before, it was Steven Gerrard who stole the show in Bucharest.