Whatever is really going on behind the scenes at Anfield, it certainly doesn’t appear to be effecting the players in a negative way. Rather than being a distraction the players seem to be playing well enough to save Rafa’s skin. This week we’ve seen two incredible performances and results.
We were superb against Newcastle, I’ve watched highlights of the game four times and it keeps getting better. On Wednesday against Porto we were also great and apart from a brief period at the end of the first half, we never looked too worried. When the score was still one ‘“ one I must admit I was incredibly nervous but I still felt that we would get that vital second goal. I never dreamed we would end up getting another three goals.
I admit I’ve been rather pessimistic this week and I was convinced that Rafa would be sacked by the seasons end at the latest. However I’ve now changed my mind and I am feeling much less dramatic. It isn’t just because I’m bursting with adrenaline after watching the Porto game, I’m just thinking more clearly. As a good friend of mine said earlier in the week, Gillette and Hicks have a reputation for not interfering with their sports teams. Now that things appear to be dying down I think that our American owners will realise that they would have to be complete idiots to sack Rafa. You don’t become as wealthy and successful as they are without having brains and foresight. I am sure that they realise that there is no other manager better for Liverpool Football Club than Rafa Benitez.
After Torres’s goal against Chelsea, I loudly proclaimed that he is as good as Michael Owen was in his early pre-injury prime. I would now like to alter that statement and say that I think Fernando Torres is miles better than Owen was, and for anyone that knows me well that is a strong statement. Torres has the ‘˜wow’ factor that Liverpool has been missing for such a long time. I used to watch players like Henry at Arsenal and Messi at Barcelona and fantasise that Liverpool could have a player like that. Sometimes it’s like a dream that we now actually have a player like that. Every time he gets the ball my senses become more alert and I anticipate something exciting happening. Almost every time he receives the ball near the opposition goal he inevitably has a great shot, beats a few players or scores goal. Even though he is by far our record signing I still feel he was a bargain. The way he turned the Porto defender before calmly beating the keeper in the most pressurised situation was unbelievable. I still feel chills every time I watch the goal or imagine it in my mind.
Steven Gerrard is absolutely back to his best now with seven goals in his last eight games. As we know, when Stevie G plays well so does the team and as long as this continues it’s all good. I was very happy to see us score from two Gerrard corners which has been far too rare an occurrence in the past.
I’m over the moon to see Harry Kewell playing so well too. Is it just me, or is he currently playing better than ever before in a Liverpool shirt? He has been absolutely fabulous when coming off the bench and completely upping the tempo of the rest of the side. He was causing real havoc on the left flank against Porto and they just could not handle him. His move that led to Torres second goal was poetry in motion. He dummies the Porto player before going on fabulous run before finally playing the perfect pass. There have been plenty of times when I’ve wondered why Rafa persisted with him through his seemingly constant injuries, but that one single moment against Porto showed exactly why Rafa made the correct decision to stick by him.
We are now back in terrific form again after that annoying little blip. We were excellent at the beginning of the season and we are looking even better at the moment. I feel sorry for Bolton this weekend as I fancy The Reds to continue hammering whatever is put in front of us. When you consider that Agger will be back soon and Alonso and Pennant are still due back, it is mouth watering how good we still could become. If Stevie Gerrard continues the way he’s been playing lately we really will be awesome. Liverpool under Rafa Benitez has been consistent for having great second halves to the season. So if that remains the case this time we may be smiling more than ever next May.