If any of you guys missed yesterday's Liverpool vs. Olympiakos game, go home and shoot yourselves, since you've missed half of your lives (alright, maybe a third, but it was bloody good!). That was an unbelievable match, and it did not do the blood pressure any favours either.
Down at 1-0 at half time, and needing to win by a margin of two, Liverpool looked all but out. Particulary taking into account the events of the game, it looked like one of those games where we'd have to attribute to Liverpool being unlucky again. Two disallowed goals, hitting the post, and at least three good penalty shouts being turned down looked to have proved the pessimists right once again. This time, however, our team proved that they can go against that fickle lady and create their own luck. That Gerrard goal was an absolute screamer. That's the difference, I think, between this year's liverpool and the one of last year. It seems then we were resolved to attribute everything to bad luck: lists of injuries, missing chances, etc.
This year however, we've had the problems compounded, and the team and its manager have refused to use that as an excuse. We had Gerrad out for more than a month, so was Baros, and we still have Garcia out and Cisse. Those are basically our best four players! We've still managed to pull off some good results, however. No bad luck will stand in our way this time!
Is the tide turning in Liverpool's favour? I've always thought there were two keys to a great team: a great midfield, and being able to pull of those kind of results that make people go, " How lucky was that!" On the second point, we've been able to pull off some pretty late and dramatic comebacks recently. First there was the 4-2 win over Fullham (coming back from 2-0 down), then there was the Carling Cup win over Tottenham, the dramatic flooring of Arsenal, and now this great win. It kind of reminds me of Manchester United of 99, except that it's a team worth supporting.
The other main ingredient in a great team is the midfield. I have to say, I was a bit skeptical of our midfield in the beggining, but looking at it now it's pretty goddamn good: Garcia, Gerrard, Alonso, Kewell, Riise, and Nunez (alright he's not that great). Trust me, I don't think attackers are our main concern at the moment, as you can put a bunch of penguins up there and with a good midfield they'd still score. Besides, we've got Baros, Pongole, and Mellor all fit, and they've proven to be enough. Wait till Cisse comes back as well. Our main worry right now is getting a really good defender.
Remember those days when you heard Manchester United Fans boasting about how they had the best midfield in the world? Beckham, Scholes, Giggs, and Keane? Well Beckham is long gone, Scholes and Giggs are past their prime, and Keane is just old and not as hard as he used to be (nowadays it seems you need to carry him in an egg basket since he gets injured so easily). Look at how nowadays they've got a strikeforce of Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, and Saha and they still aren't the force they used to be. Before, they had mediocre forwards like Cole and York and won a treble. It's all in the midfield, my friend.
I'm not saying Liverpool has the best midfield in the Premiership. I think any sane man would say that Chelsea has that at the moment. We do have a pretty good foundation, however, and I can see us building on it quite well!
A good friend of mine is a Valencia supporter, and I remember when Benitez first arrived he said expect him to do really well without creating any mega-stars. He does not like super-stars. In fact, he'll keep rotating the formation up front and most of liverpool's players will end up being scorers. I think so far he's been proved right. Although we've had a lot of amazing players, I don't think you can pick one out that stands way above the rest. Furthermore, all of our players have been contributing in goalscoring, and we have not relied on one player: Pongole, Mellor, Gerrard, Garcia, Alonso, Baros, and the list goes on. I'm yet to decide if that's good or not.
Anyway, we've made it to the last 16. Now we have some cash to go out and buy more players over the break! Before that, we need to whip some Everton bottoms this weekend. I think we will.