WHEN Sami Hyypia chose to move on last summer, for pastures new at Bayer Leverkusen, like most Liverpool fans, I was very worried that he would be badly missed as a vital member of the squad. When it was announced that we would be signing the Greek international – and ‘Rangers reject’ – Sotirios Kyrgiakos I wasn’t exactly filled with a lot of optimism.
Then again, Super Sami left some pretty big boots to fill so it was only natural that anybody coming in as his replacement would fill me with a bit of doubt. I wasn’t initially too impressed with the big Greek on his debut against Bolton in August but I wasn’t too worried as I didn’t expect him to play very often. He hardly impressed in the defeat at Craven Cottage either, mind, nor did any of his teammates.
More recently, with Glen Johnson out injured and Jamie Carragher moving out to full back to cover for him, Kyrgiakos has stepped into the side, with Daniel Agger perennially injured. He has been absolutely phenomenal with three man of the match performances in the last four games. His performances recently, against Stoke, Spurs, Wolves and Bolton have been up there with the very best around. Ian Rush stated after the Wolves game that; “he is ready to fill the void left by Sami Hyypia.”
Rafa Benitez has already stated that Kyrgiakos is a really important member of the squad and if he continues to perform like has been, he is a certainty to become a cult hero to Reds fans. He will be absolutely vital to the team in the next few weeks as we play five games in a row that will probably define our season. We are going to need players (especially in the derby) that are willing to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. Kyrgiakos’ attitude and playing style typifies a great fighting spirit and his never say die attitude is just what we need to kick start or spluttering season and get us back where we belong in the Champions League next season.
With the big man from Greece in the side I really feel confident that we are going to be seeing many more clean sheets over the remainder of the season and he will write his name into folklore as a man that helped to turn our season around.