To my fellow REDS,
A Perfect Hat-Trick.. to whet our appetites for this Sunday !!
Bring on Chelsea.. Grrrhh !!
Picture collection courtesy of Getty Images..
Boo, LSCM webmaster
When Roy set out Poulsen, Spearing & Meireles in the first eleven.. you wonder where our attacking spark will come from.
When you see the bench with Gerrard, Lucas and Eccleston plus three other defenders.. you worry where our backup will come from.
In the end, it only needed one player, Stevie G to set our sails right.. and helped along by Lucas to steal the win and silence the previously noisy away fans.
Jonjo Shelvy had his second start but looked ineffective at the rightwing. Jovanovic was doing his best at the left with Meireles playing in the hole behind Ngog. Raul was a real pest in the Napoli defence and made them look uneasy with his darting runs.
Poulsen and Spearing guarded in front of the back four that saw the return of Johnson at rightback to complement Carragher, Kyrgiakos & Konchesky. But our midfield was finding it hard to contain the nimble Lavezzi who thrived in taking on the opposition with his slalom runs.
In the end, it took a bad mistake from Poulsen who had a seemingly harmless situation under control, only to direct a header back into the path of a Napoli player. A delightful Lavezzi snatch the free gift to advance and plant a confident shot past Reina to the joy of the away fans. 0-1 down.. at home.. in Europe.. but Anfield was not going to take it lying down.
Anfield started into a rendition of “The Fields of Anfield Road” to rouse up our Red Men. We tried and tried.. but it was soon obvious we lacked the attacking guile to unlock the Napoli defence.
But into the second half, it was indeed hearteing to see Roy make the early substitution by bringing on Gerrard.. but it was at the expense of Jovanovic.. Tactically, this meant shunting Meireles to the wings as Gerrard assumed his role behind Ngog. But we certainly looked threatening and from a neat play between Jonjo Shelvy and Meireles, Ngog had a good chance to level only to see the Napoli keeper save with his feet.
We were certainly in control of proceedings as we kept pegging at the Napoli goal. Eccleston came on for Poulsen to allow Meireles back into midfield with Spearing. Soon after we had another glorious chance.. a superb crossfield pass by Gerrard released Meireles that saw a loose ball land into the path of Ngog. And from the melee, Meireles only had to direct his shot in from a couple of feet.. which sadly went wide.
But our RED MEN were doing their level best even as the minutes ticked away.. And with a quarter of an hour to go, Jonjo found space on the right and made a probing run into the box. The ball was rolled back by the defender as a backpass that saw nippy Gerrard steal in and fight for the ball with the onrushing keeper. A fortunate bounce meant that the ball rolled into an empty for our much-deserved equalizer.
Into the last 10 minutes plus stoppage time, Lucas was introduced in place of Ngog who had to limp off after a bad shin-high tackle by a Napoli defender. Eccleston was shipped to the centre, thus basically alllowing Gerrard a free role with Meireles and Lucas lurking nearby.
It didn’t take to long to reap our rewards.. a probing run by Johnson on the right drew a reckless challenge in the box. Penalty awarded and Gerrard took charge with the spot kick. It was a power strike into the bottom corner despite the keeper diving in the right direction. 2-1 up and surely the 3 points are secure.
But there was more.. a loose pass in the middle of the park allowed Lucas to slide in with a challenge that released Gerrard. And our menacing skipper was in no mood to waste the chance, expertly chipping the keeper for his wonderful hat-trick !!
3-1 to Liverpool, when the scoreline should read Gerrard 3 and Napoli 1.
Our new owner John Henry and his beautiful wife Linda Pezzuti witnessed our 1-man demolition job. And so did Damien Commolli, our newly-appointed Director of Football Strategy. Dalglish appeared pensive early in the game as did all of us.. but also basked in the joy at the final whistle.
It has been a morale-boosting win, an outstanding display by our skipper and all this augurs well for our Sunday game against the league leaders Chelsea..
BRING THEM ON !!!!