New rule. All Liverpool games at Anfield have to be played on weeknights.
I’m kidding, of course, but why can’t Liverpool play like they did against Real Madrid in the Premier League? They would wipe the opposition clean. Such tenacity. Such passion. Such skill. Incredible stuff.
If it wasn’t for Iker Casillas, Liverpool could have been 4-0 up within the first 30 minutes. Liverpool closed down the flanks, stopping Real Madrid from breaking down the left and right wings, making Arjen Robben a ghost down the left where he has been so effective during this La Liga season. Whenever Higuain tried to break through on the right, he was completely ineffective too. For Real Madrid, Wesley Sneijder was the only threat for Madrid in the first half. I had to laugh when one of the Real Madrid fans in the crowd, who obviously didn’t have much to cheer about regarding his own team, held an Everton scarf above his head and taunted the Liverpool faithful.
Back to the match, to me, this was a dream team for Liverpool with their best 11 on the pitch. Every player wearing the Liver bird was world class Tuesday night. Don’t be surprised if the stock price of the entire Liverpool squad and their manager skyrocketed in value. So much so that any of these players (or the manager) will be transfer targets in the summer transfer window. Even 20-year old central midfielder Jay Spearing, who was brought on to replace Steven Gerrard, was dazzling and was bouyed by the Liverpool crowd who crooned “One Jay Spearing, there’s only one Jay Spearing.”
On the pitch, the battle between Heinze and Torres was absorbing as both world-class players fought it out. There were plenty of tit for tat with Torres gaining the edge in several dangerous situations, while Heinze defended brilliantly at other times and extinguished Liverpool’s attack. Ryan Babel, meanwhile, made mincemeat of Real Madrid, tearing down the left wing and exposing the Spanish team time after time.
Overall, though, the defending by Real Madrid was diabolical. But full credit to Liverpool for putting Real under so much immense pressure from the opening whistle. In fact, the first 45 minutes of this match is the most entertaining game I’ve seen all season — and that includes any competition. Real Madrid were decimated, but showed flashes of brilliance forcing Reina to make several splendid saves. Even in the face of defeat, stone cold Juande Ramos showed no emotion on the touchline. Some things haven’t changed since his White Hart Lane days.
The question is, though, can Liverpool play at this level against Man Utd this weekend? History tells us no, but with the confidence brimming in this Liverpool squad, all it would take is a similar effort at Old Trafford to blow away a Manchester United side. Something tells me though that Benitez will tinker with his squad and spoil the chi. For the sake of the pure entertainment value in the Premier League, let’s hope I’m proven wrong. It could turn out to be the match of the century otherwise.