Aquilani relished his first
Just as we thought our ship was about to sink, captain Steven Gerrard and the rest of the boys pulled something special out of the bag last night against a team fighting for their life in the Premier League. But is this a sign of things to come or just a one off result?
Many people will quickly jump to the old "oh well it was only Portsmouth" but as Liverpool fans we all know how much that victory meant. We all know how valuable those 3 points were and we all know after being beaten by Portsmouth earlier on in the season, this was no fluke.
It was an early goal from Fernando Torres that started off the Liverpool rout.
When Steven Gerrard closed down Pompey keeper Jamie Ashdown, i don't think anyone was expecting the last ditch attempt to be fruitful, however when Gerrard managed get a foot to the clearance, the ball kindly fell to Maxi Rodriguez, he kept himself composed and swept the ball to our number 9 who put the ball in the back of the net with ease.
Pompey looked quickly dislodged, the quick pressure from Liverpool seemed to cause panic in their defence, but in all fairness they should have been prepared for this coming to Anfield, even if Liverpool are currently on a downer.
Less than 3 minutes later and a more fluent, attacking Liverpool side capitalized on Portsmouth's weaknesses again. This time it was marmite man Ryan Babel who had a great game for the Reds.
When Glen Johnson whipped the ball in to Fernando after a bit of a scramble he managed to lay the pass to Babel, he sent his effort the the wide low right of goal and it was now 2-0 for Liverpool.
Time and time again people have been putting across the point that why when we play teams who are less threatening don't we drop one of our defensive midfielders and start the likes of Aquilani, or add Gerrard into his correct attacking role. Well this result did nothing but back up those points.
Aquilani (without getting head over heels as it was Portsmouth, we need to compare and contrast as he plays against say Utd, Everton etc etc) was immense. Clearly a refreshing asset to a tired looking Liverpool side of late.
The changing of players such as Lucas and Kuyt was a great move from manager Rafael Benitez. However by no means is this a call for the Dutchman and Brazilian to be blamed/slated for recent poor results, both players never give anything less than 110% in every game, it was a change of tactics that allowed Liverpool to be so successful not necessarily just the players. Don't make two of the Reds' best players scapegoats or excuses.
The third goal came from none other but Il Principino himself, the chants and banners have been waiting for this moment and by the reaction of Anfield you could see how much it meant to the fan base for him to get off the mark. Not only how much it appeared to mean to the man himself, he was ecstatic.
Torres and Gerrard were involved with the set up but when the ball reached the Italians feet there was only one place the ball was going, with a great drive towards goal his effort found its way into the back of the net.
I seriously hope this is the starting point of a "shove that in your pipe and smoke it" moment to every single critic in the land. How you can judge a top class player in his first season especially after only just coming back from injury and barely playing any games i don't know, but they just love noting how terrible he apparently is don't they? Well in Aquilani. Keep it up.
Our fourth and final goal saw El Nino get his second. This time it was typical Torres terrorising a defence, Portsmouth had no idea what to do with him and his final strike was fantastic.
(I'm sure Vidic is quaking in his boots.)
Portsmouth had to spoil the party somewhat though didn't they? Belhadj who scored against us in the first fixture managed to get Pompey a consolation goal but there was no way back for the Southerners.
We have now moved into 5th place overtaking Man City who still have 2 games in hand. We remain just one point behind Spurs as the race for 4th continues.
With a Europa League tie against Lille to come before we face bitter North West rivals Manchester United it would be nice if Liverpool could make this a collection of matches to remember.
If we play like we did last night against United it makes no difference if they have Rooney instead of Piquionne, Hreidarsson instead of Vidic or Ashdown between the sticks instead of Van Der Sar... Fact is, United and Fergie will not know what to do with us.
Anyone punting for deja vu?