Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In-Form Steven Gerrard Is Liverpool's Silver Lining

The noose around Roy Hodgson's neck was tightening last Saturday as soon as Bolton's Kevin Davies scored a simple goal just before halftime at Anfield. Luckily for him, Steven Gerrard would not let Liverpool suffer a third successive defeat.

The Liverpool captain turned in his best performance this season and literally pulled Liverpool across the winning line. Liverpool had looked very impotent before the forced introduction of Gerrard. During that time, Torres was having his now-customary torrid time in front of goal. It was horrible and excruciating to watch the Spaniard struggle with Hodgson's tactics. Most times, Torres' touch was heavy and there was a distinct reluctance to shoot.

All that hesitancy changed as soon as Steven Gerrard joined the fray.

The change in Liverpool players was instant. There was nothing much they could do, in actual fact, as Gerrard's wonderful passing were driving players forward. Liverpool suddenly looked on fire and were taking the game to Bolton. Fabrice Muamba could not keep pace with Gerrard throughout the second half and that failure was punished to the fullest by the Reds captain.

His impact on the game was telling, as evidenced by The Guardian Chalkboard. Long passes, short passes,  crosses and one touch precision passing, Gerrard put on a majestic display to drag Liverpool from the jaws of defeat.

Unlike in previous disappointing Liverpool games, Gerrard kept moving the ball forward and that put Bolton's defenders on the backfoot. Torres, Maxi and Johnson were all energised by their captain's excellent playmaking and duly responded with big performances. In the end Liverpool's ferocious play paid off and substitute Joe Cole's late dramatic goal even made Hodgson look inspired!

Gerrard looked supremely fit and confident against Bolton, his World Cup exertions clearly is behind him now. All this augurs well for Liverpool and Torres in particular.

For the first time this season, El Nino was recognisable as the player of old and needless to say, Gerrard had a major say in Torres' change in playing attitude. Hodgson must realise from this game, that Torres is at his most dangerous when the ball is played to his feet or in front of him. He is definitely NOT a target man. 

If Roy wants to stamp his "philosophy" (and I hope he does not!) then Fernando Llorente is the classy target man that Roy and Comolli should consider bringing in despite him already signing a new contract with Bilbao. Two world-class Fernandos in the Liverpool lineup would be truly mouthwatering AND frightening for the Premier League!

But for now, Liverpool need the Gerrard-Torres partnership to ignite. Torres thrives on the telepathic understanding he has developed with Gerrard. Statistics have shown that Liverpool's on-field success rely on the fearsome Gerrard-Torres tandem. Whenever the two play together, goals and wins are virtually guaranteed. Being one of the lowest goal scorers in the Premier League this season, Liverpool need Gerrard and Torres to be motivated and hungry.

A fit and motivated Steven Gerrard will bring out the best in Fernando Torres. And if Roy Hodgson cannot motivate the players, then Gerrard should and MUST provide the on-field leadership to drive this Liverpool team forwards.

Let's hope the wins continue against Blackburn tonight. Nando Torres always do well against Rovers.

1 comment:

David said...

Liverpool always struggle when Gerrard is out (and Torres for that matter)

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