Most people who watched Liverpool’s performance Monday night against Manchester City will have impressed by their display over the 90 minutes. Liverpool were dynamic, creative, energetic, imaginative, confident, unpredictable and, perhaps most importantly of all, clinical in the final third of the pitch.
This was a performance from a team that is brimming with energy. The question is why can’t Liverpool always play that well?
They’ve undoubtedly been improving ever since Kenny Dalglish took over as manager of the Reds. But everything seemed to click Monday night even better than usual. Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll up front were exceptional. Dirk Kuyt was an engine once again. Jay Spearing was inspirational in midfield. John Flanagan, in his first start for Liverpool, looked comfortable against a Manchester City side that, on paper, should have been a threat.
Some of you watching the game on Monday night may have forgotten about one player who was missing from Liverpool, a Mr. Steven Gerrard. While the captain is Liverpool through-and-through, it speaks volumes that the team was able to carry on without him. And, if anything, they were able to play with a fluidity that is sometimes lacking when Gerrard plays. Don’t get me wrong, Gerrard was not the reason why Liverpool played well Monday night, but his absence was – I believe – a contributing factor to the team’s success.
No matter which side of the fence you’re on regarding the Gerrard debate, the conclusion is that Liverpool looked like a powerful outfit Monday night that could cause opponents a whole lot of trouble next season if the Reds can consistently play at this level. That has been Liverpool’s downfall in recent years. Just when you see them capture that Anfield magic, the team seems to be too complacent in matches where they need that spark to win.
Perhaps Steven Gerrard’s injury is a blessing in disguise? We’ll have to wait and see how Liverpool does during the remainder of the season.