There’s something about playing against Chelsea that ignites the fire within Liverpool players. Scratch that, there’s something about playing Chelsea in Anfield that ignites the fire within Liverpool players, and last night proved to be no different.
Fast facts pre-match: Liverpool were obviously lagging behind in the Premier League stakes, teetering dangerously close to losing their “Big Four” membership privileges, while Chelsea, barring their recent defeat to Manchester City, seem to be coasting their way to another League title. Then again, stats are meant to be thrown out the window the moment the starting whistle blows, and the Reds made sure of doing that.
Remember a certain Fernando Torres? Bearer of the #9 shirt in Liverpool who seems to be the recent favourite punching bag of the ever-fickle English media? Well, it only took the lithe Spaniard 11 minutes to break the deadlock as he made a sprint Usain Bolt would have been proud of and scored through an angled shot that was reminiscent of his Euro 2008-winning goal.
I had to restrain myself from over-celebrating the goal, as there’s nothing worse in football than complacency, and I knew very well that Chelski was a team very much capable of roaring comebacks. However, as if cosmically sensing the suspension of my joy, the man they call “El Niño” then scored another superb goal through curling a shot beyond the flabbergasted Petr Cech to double the lead. That, I had to duly stand up for and applaud.
Admittedly, the Second Half became a bit of a blur to me, as my head was being spun by a combination of the requisite weekend-sleep deprivation and the frantic switching back and forth between the football match and the Formula One Brazilian GP, but in the end, despite the constant underhanded fouls of the naughty Chelski defenders and the presence of card-happy, occasionally-narrow-sighted ref Howard Webb, the Reds held on to the 2-0 lead, the clean sheet, and of course, the much-coveted win against the current PL leaders. Pinch me now, this cannot be a dream.
Undoubtedly, Torres was the star and the man of the match, but full credit also goes out to the rest of the Reds who played like they had a blazing bonfire within their shorts (Apologies for the mental image, lads. I’m sure the girls enjoyed that). Gerrard, Reina, Kelly, Rodriguez, heck, even Lucas deserves a pat on the back for that valiant display. As a devoted fan, I even felt like giving the middle finger to all those who ever doubted Fernando Torres’ goalscoring abilities. What a way to silence, or at the very least, temporarily appease the critics. More important, those 3 points signal our Houllier-esque “turning the corner” and moving upward from the dreaded Relegation Zone.
Could it be because he dyed his precious hair a lighter shade? Is he our symbolic Samson and should therefore cease from cutting his hair? Or, was it his BFF Gerrard’s hattrick in the Europa Cup that awoke the goalscoring demigod within him and went, “Oi, I can still do that, too!”
Whatever it is, keep doing what you’re doing, Nando. I like it, we like it, and it keeps the Anfield Faithful at peace. That brace certainly made the sleep sacrifice worth it. Muchas gracias!