Today on Day’s of Our Lives…I mean, on the Cross Blog Polling Extravaganza, we’ll be running four different polls on four different blogs. You can meander over to the Liverpool Offside to vote on the Best Win, or to Oh You Beauty to vote on Worst Loss and if you’re so inclined, check out Goal of the Season over at Anfield Asylum. We’ve got Performance of the Season today so, without further interruption…
Guest post by nate of Oh You Beauty
Hi. I’m nate. I write far too much about Liverpool less often than I should at Oh You Beauty. I like long walks on the beach and when bad things happen to Manchester United. I don’t get to experience either of those nearly enough.
Unsurprisingly for a season where Liverpool spent time in the relegation zone and by January had its lowest points total for more than half a century, we’ve been treated to some abysmal performances. But we’ve also been treated to some absolute gems, giving fans a glimmer of hope which will probably be snatched away at the first opportunity. But enough about my existential angst and near-permanent pessimism. Let’s watch some videos and reminiscence about the good times. Then go vote in the poll.
Clicking on each option will take you to a compilation video made by someone far more talented than I am. I do, however, recommend muting the music.
Suarez v United: Luis Suarez made an immediate impact after his January transfer, looking a world-beater the first time he graced an English pitch. But the 3-1 victory over Manchester United was when we knew Liverpool had an incandescent, unstoppable force of nature capable of reducing defenders to quivering, sobbing messes who wanted nothing more than to return to the loving comfort of their mothers’ arms. Dirk Kuyt’s point-blank hat-trick stole the headlines, but Suarez had a starring role in each goal: a jinking, jaw-dropping run through four hapless defenders to set up the first; a deftly chipped cross insanely headed towards goal by Nani for the second; and a blasted free kick which van der Sar found too hot to handle for the third. Superlatives simply do not suffice.
Lucas v Chelsea (h): The destructive orchestrator at his best. The definition of consistency this season no matter the world falling down around him for the first five months of the campaign. Performances against Chelsea away and Manchester United could have taken this one’s place. Like Liverpool itself, Lucas has been at his best in the biggest matches. This 2-0 win – Hodgson’s first and only victory against top opposition – saw Lucas completely shadow and silence Chelsea’s attackers. The video shows his vastly improved range of passing, but more importantly, with Liverpool under intense pressure after surprisingly scoring twice in the first half, Lucas was simply outstanding in shielding a constantly under-threat back line during the second half firestorm. That the home side never conceded was due in no small part to the Brazilian’s efforts. Little wonder he’s finally won over the Anfield faithful. The kid has testicles the size of boulders.
Gerrard v Napoli: Gerrard’s hat-trick off the bench against the Italians, requiring all of 14 minutes to drag Liverpool kicking and screaming toward victory, was a much-needed reminder that the captain is still capable of winning matches single-handedly. The first goal came because Gerrard refused to concede a lost cause, unwilling to cease chasing a possible equalizer. The second was a typically casual spot kick that the keeper had no chance at reaching. And the third, an utterly nonchalant chip, was the sort of finish which straightens its back and announces, “yeah, it really is this easy for me.” These supernatural, superhuman acts of supremacy have sadly become fewer and farther between, mostly because of Gerrard’s increasing injury concerns, but as long as he’s playing, he’ll be capable of them.
Carragher v Chelsea (a): Like the previous option, it’s nice to know that Liverpool’s Scouse stalwarts can still replicate their glory days. This was Carragher at his Istanbul-esque best. Carra crammed Drogba deep into his pocket, and still had time to help Agger mark the misfiring Fernando Torres into an oblivion he still hasn’t found his way out of. Pinned deep and clinging to a one-nil lead is a situation where Carragher thrives, and there was absolutely no way that Liverpool’s vice captain was going to relinquish that advantage, no matter what it took. (note: video includes Agger)
Reina v Birmingham: Pepe Reina is the best keeper in the Premier League. He’s probably the best keeper in the world. This is easy to forget when we see him save Liverpool’s bacon time and time again; his brilliance is almost boring by this point. That his best match of the season came in a disappointing 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Birmingham takes some of the luster off, but if not for Reina, Liverpool wouldn’t have earned a single point. Absurd, impossible saves on Jerome and Gardner (at 0:54 and 1:55 in the video) were highlights, but his distribution was also excellent on this day, something that didn’t happen very often during the first half of the season thanks to the previous manager’s pre-Stone Age tactics.