Much as I like being objective and rational about football I felt so much better as I shouted, at around 4.25am this morning, “Up yours money boy” to Torres as he sat forlornly on the bench when the camera switched to him following Meireles’ goal.(Video removed by “copyright” – as if an outtake of any game has much value more than 3 days after it was played)
Proving, as I said to a mate last night, and again during my reaction when Agger shared a “how do you do?” with him in the 26th minute, how much of a fan I really am.
So rather than provide an objective match report, I’ll leave that to the journalists who are paid and instead run the rule over the Liverpool performance in the victory against Chelsea last night and the changes which have happened in the last 4 weeks.
I’ve never been a fan of unnecessarily changing a winning team, which is one of the reasons why much of Benitez’ early reign at Anfield Road frustrated the hell out of me (albeit offset nicely by European and FA Cup successes). Because of that the return of both Gerrard and Carragher itched at me this past week. But unlike under the tenure of Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish has proven there’s much to be said for the understanding which comes with plenty of game time together in a football team. And even though Poulsen has been a million percent better under Kenny, he had to give way to Gerrard just as the game but limited Soto has to do the same for Carra.
I always liked a good 5-3-2, and in the position Liverpool are in, and with the players at their disposal, it’s almost the perfect formation for the team. It allows both Kelly and Johnson to get forward like Steve Nicol or Barry Venison used to. Agger to play in the Centre-Back spot but sometimes come forward as an Alan Hansen Style marauding libero. Both Gerrard and Meireles have a sort of roving freedom in the middle and upfront like Ray Houghton and John Barnes once had while Lucas maintains order, Steve McMahon style, as required. (Mind you the 1988 team didn’t in my memory play 5-3-2).
Even if the formation is likely to be adapted with both the introduction of Carroll (most probably for Kuyt) and against teams with more width than Chelsea, last night it was employed to almost perfection in the usually impregnable fortress of West London. Topped off by wonderful strike from Raul Meireles who, like Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly have come into their own under the return of the King.
Meireles now has to ensure he doesn’t go the way of Bruno Cheyrou, the last Liverpool player to score (without a deflection) at Stamford Bridge. At least he has done more than enough in recent weeks to keep his place, much unlike Maxi Rodriguez who will certainly be feeling a wind called Suarez blowing into his place in the team.
The stattos will tell us how many teams have done the double over the champions in the season following their success. This seasons Liverpool double over Chelsea’s was from two wildly differing performances, under two different managers. Even if the first under Hodgson remains, for me, up until now Liverpool’s best performance of the season, I’m more enamoured with the consistency, ability and general application being shown both in last nights victory and the preceding three.
You’ve got to fight and get a few cuts to bleed red. If you don’t have the bottle for it, your blood stays in the veins. Maybe that’s why Torres in the end chose to go to a blue team, so he can keep his blood inside. I’m glad I’m seeing my red men bleeding again. But I’m looking for more, so Torres can shake his head and wonder what he could have achieved if he had stayed red, bled red.