Liverpool: Pushing Gerrard Forward Was A Genius Move By Rodgers
Moments. Small moments. We’ve been here, we’ve done this. It’s all about the small moments. Everything changes in small moments.
I’ve covered the way our early season has been governed by the moment when Roy Hodgson’s arrogance decided that he should ignore a carefully calculated training plan designed to support a player with a history of costly injuries and, in doing so, cost us our best striker. I won’t go there again. You might start to believe that I’m obsessed with the owl faced idiot’s ineptitude.
Let’s talk about other moments instead. Let’s talk about the Lallana moments and the Gerrard moments and the Sterling moments and the Henderson moments and yes, even the Balotelli moments.
The Lallana moment. The moment when he played the ball through to Henderson for a delicate flick back to him as he entered the area. The moment when he took a step, a second and then slotted home. First Liverpool goal. First Anfield goal. First bit of creative, inventive play appearing from nowhere in the forty-fifth minute of a half that had followed the pattern of all the recent halves; slow, nervous, cautious, lacking movement, lacking confidence. And then Lallana does that and all’s good with the world again.
Obviously we shoot ourselves in the foot again. Manquillo plays a ball back that doesn’t need to be played back and if it did certainly needed to be played back better than it was. Lovren continued with that thing where he has to challenge for every ball. Every. Single. Ball. And he takes the man. Clearly takes the man. Clearly takes the man outside the area. Obviously it’s a penalty. Obviously the injustice sends our heads down again. Obviously it’s happening again. Obviously it’s over.
Except it isn’t.
We go again. (Not said that for weeks, missed saying that.)
Sterling is denied a blatant penalty but instead of sitting and appealing, sitting and complaining, he’s back on his feet and he’s rolling the ball back for Jordan Henderson to curve a winner into the net. Jordan Henderson. Made one, scored one, ran the entire midfield, gave a man of the match performance. Would have given a man of the match performance but for the fantastic flashing feet of Adam Lallana. Adam Lallana who was everywhere doing everything, all the time.
And then we played football. For the first time since the Spurs game, we played football. No more goals came but it didn’t matter; confidence came, the confidence that lets you try things and sees them come off. The kind of confidence that means that you can bring on Balotelli (dropped after the Swiss fiasco. Dropped. Not rested, not rotated. Dropped.) for the still struggling Lambert. Lambert’s trying. Lambert’s willing to work. Lambert’s not working at the moment.
Coutinho’s working; the invention’s coming back. Moreno’s working; twenty times the player Luke Shaw is for a hell of a lot less money. Glen Johnson came back and worked; a calm, professional head, an authority at right back. And we’ve not said that about Glen for a long time.
And what else worked? Moving Gerrard forward. That Gerrard that’s finished, over, too old, a liability? With ten minutes to go, Brendan brought on Lucas to sit and pushed Steven forward. And it was a beautiful thing. Steven linked with Mario and Mario moved and picked up the passes and they linked and they picked and they created and we may have just found another new way of playing that we didn’t think we’d ever see again. Steven sits behind Mario in the same way that Steven sat behind Fernando back when he was good. And it may have only been ten minutes but it was beautiful to see.
And in the last minute? Jordan Henderson b****cks Steven Gerrard for playing a ball into the box when he was telling him to take it into the corner to kill the game off. The (new) vice captain b****cks the Captain and gives everybody one more reason to love him.
Yes, it was only West Brom. Yes, we went as high as sixth and dropped back to ninth but we’re only a point behind the Mancs in fourth and they’re only there by dint of De Gea pulling off a last minute ‘worldie’ and we’re only where we are by dint of Phil Jagielka pulling off a last minute ‘worldie’.
Small moments. There’s a long way to go. We’ll be fine.
Still going to win the league.