After watching English football on television for more than 30 years, I’ve watched countless boring tactical games like yesterday’s two nil win by Bolton against Manchester City. But I’ve also seen many incredible games and wonderful individual efforts that still make me jump out of my seat.
This season, the club that is impressing me the most of late is not Chelsea. It’s Liverpool. Despite their cruel defeat against Tottenham, Liverpool have two ingredients this season that rival managers only wish they had.
First is their creativity in front of goal. The magic triangle of Dirk Kuyt, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard has been so effective in creating chances to score up front. The way these three players link up and instinctively know where their colleagues are running into positions is incredible to watch.
Watching other teams play football can be so predictable especially in the way that they attack the goal. But the mark of a great team is when they do the unthinkable and seemingly impossible. That has been Liverpool up front for the last few weeks. Creating goals out of nowhere and fooling defenders because they have no idea what’s going to happen next.
The second impressive attribute of Liverpool’s this season has been their team spirit. If you go back and watch highlights of their recent games, keep a close eye on how the teammates are genuinely patting each other on the back and acknowledging the contributions of each player. It may sound inconsequential, but team spirit does make a difference. It’s unfortunately rare to see. You’re much likely to see Ashley Cole mouthing off at his teammates because someone didn’t pass to him while he was open.
Liverpool still have improvements to make this season if they want to win some silverware, but they’ve finally put together a team that has two main attributes that are so hard to achieve. The challenge for Liverpool will be continuing to play the art of football up front and remaining creative especially when Fernando Torres returns and breaks up the magic triangle of Kuyt, Gerrard and Keane.