As of January 2nd, just 6 days before club legend Kenny Dalglish took over the reigns at Anfield after a tumultuous and highly unsuccessful stint of Roy Hodgson, Liverpool were languishing 9th in the premier league table with 25 points, 7 wins and 9 losses, 4 draws and a -1 goal difference.
Manchester City on the other hand were second in the table behind City rivals Manchester United with a massive 16 points above the Merseysiders, and it was almost insane to think that Liverpool would at some point in time match to the top half of the table.
But then came one King Kenny with his magic wand. His presence not only turned the bitter chants of Liverpool supporters into the Anfield-esque raucous support but it must have injected some voodoo into the blood of the players. Just six Premier League games later, they stood just six points off a place in the Champions League, and the march continues with six games remaining.
|Forget Nando, Andy is the man - photo: premierleague.com|
Granted, the 18 times Premier league winners have underperformed over the last two seasons, missing out in the illustrious UEFA Champions League place. The explanation to this of course has been attributed to the profiteering approach that was ushered in by the justly hated – but thank God former owners – Tom Hicks and George Gillet. The takeover by John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group and the appointment of club legend Kenny Dalglish as temporary manager has given a fresh air of breath to the club.
And did I mention the signing of Luis Suarez and Andy Carrol and the exit of the want-away, humdrum Fernando Torres?
Liverpool’s latest opponents, and dare I say victims, Manchester City, came into the game with only one motive: to beat the L4 club and surely extinguish their faint hopes of springing a surprise by clinching the fourth spot that will all but guarantee their return to their favourite hunting ground, the UEFA Champions League.
Needless to mention, Anfield is always a fortress thus it becomes almost a mission impossible to leave there with a win, especially if you happen to be one of those ‘big teams’. Just ask the 3-1 drubbed Manchester United and the 2-0 blue faced Chelsea.
Kenny’s lineup included a certain 18-year-old Liverpool born and bred John Flanagan, who was informed of his debut only two hours before kick-off, and some two January signings, Luis Suarez and yes, you can now call him Suarez’s ‘partner-in-crime’, Andy Caroll. It was the first time Anfield had seen their latest signings together and boy didn’t they impress!!
Liverpool harangued their opponents from the whistle and Joe Hart and his defence had to be at their best to keep off the barrage of attacks that were being orchestrated by their opponents. But who said you can stop Liverpool when they are on song? 34minutes for the Red Army to sweep past their sky blue rivals.
Just 13 minutes into the game, Carlos Tevez lost possession and Raul Meireles tried his luck from a distance but his effort bounced off Vincent Kompany. Liverpool’s record signing Andy Caroll however was within distance and hit a £35 million worth 25-yard shot that put Liverpool on the lead. Signed as the replacement for Fernando Torres, the 22-year-old has got his name on the scoresheet before the Spaniard who, needless to say, has had more game time than the former Tyneside frontman.
The thoughts of Fernando Torres started fading away from the Anfield crowd.
Boasting of a team worth £253.5M compared to Liverpool’s £93.5M in the game, one could have expected City to hit back with vengeance. Instead, it was Liverpool who extended their lead in the 34minute when City simply couldn’t clear the ball inside the box and Mr. Reliable, Dirk Kuyt placed the ball from the right side well past an overstretched Joe Hart and into the net. 2-0 to Liverpool.
Andy Caroll’s £35 million singing fee was criticized by both haters and lovers of the mighty Liverpool club. But now, thinking that he has scored two goals in the premier league as compared to the none that the much more expensive person he replaced, obviously turns heads.
His glancing header from a pinpoint perfect Raul Meireles cross left Joe Hart grasping at thin air a minute later and put the game beyond Roberto Mancini men’s reach.
Fernando Torres forgotten.
The second half continued with the way the first finished with Liverpool harassing their opponents off the ball, winning possession and passing the ball forward to the dangerous attacking trio of Dirk Kuyt, Caroll and Suarez. Liverpool’s masterclass in this game clearly demonstrated why no Manchester team has got nothing from Anfield this season. It was even hard to point out who the man of the match was. Was it the two-goal Geordie Andy Caroll, the man with a bag of trickery Luis Suarez, the tough tackling debutant at left-back John Flanagan, the workhorse Dirk Kuyt or the duo of Lucas Leiva and Jay Spearing who marshaled the midfield in the absence of Gerard? Check out Goal.com's ratings for the game.