Nemanja Vidic has left Fernando Torres out of a list of the four best strikers he ever faced – but did pick two former Liverpool players in Peter Crouch and Luis Suarez – showing that his picks were personal and not because of his club connection.
The Serbian famously struggled against Torres, who used to sprint past him repeatedly – with Vidic getting sent off on two occasions when facing the Spaniard – who undoubtedly had his number.
But instead of Torres, Vidic picked Sergio Aguero and Didier Drogba – choosing not to even mention his former foe.
“My first experience was Peter Crouch. I’d never seen a two-metres tall player before’, Vidic told Andy Mitten from The Athletic.
“He played for Liverpool and we played them in a cup game at Anfield. I was thinking ‘Wow, what can I do today with this guy?’
“Then I saw Bellamy next to him, not a great player on the ball but very, very fast. He would run into space, Crouch would jump into the air. I’d never seen football played like this.
“I’d never had a No 9 and a sharp, fast, player next to him. I knew how to deal with them individually but not both of them at the same time. I played alongside Wes Brown, it was a tough game, a long game. We lost 1-0.”
Vidic’s refusal to discuss Torres seems quite petty, but we did find his comments on Crouch fairly interesting.
It seems a long time ago that we played with a Big-man/Little-man combination – but his partnership with Craig Bellamy was occasionally very effective.
Now of course under Jurgen Klopp our football is very, very different – and we don’t use a single conventional striker – with Roberto Firmino as a false-9 and Sadio Mane and Mo Salah cutting in from the wings.