Gerrard & Torres Seal European Progression
Torres sends first effort past Lille goalkeeper...
Liverpool let their football do the talking last night and dismissed an outspoken Albert Riera's quotes of the club being a "sinking ship", well last time i checked for a vessel to be described as "sunk" you are to be well and truly under water, all i can see at the moment is a club keeping their heads above the waves whilst we continue to fight in this struggle of a campaign.
Riera's comments before the Lille game aired on radio it appears are just the forefront of an ongoing incident but still, as in the Tweeting Babel incident, you do not do those things especially before an important European tie for your current team. Team player has a meaning behind it, it is clear that some people these days have no idea what that meaning is.
Benitez fielded a similar XI as played against Portsmouth although Maxi was not used due to being ineligible and Aquilani was left out with a virus.
This raised alarms for a lot of people because many fans at the moment do not like the choice of two defensive midfielders, when Masch and Lucas were both named to start, the grumbles began.
Benitez however had a trump card up his sleeve, to most peoples surprise Lucas was put into a more attacking role and it worked a treat. Quite easily the man of the match and it put many complaints to bed as the supposedly "stubborn" Benitez changed things for the better for the current match in question.
Lucas was the reason Liverpool were allowed to level the tie up on aggregate after his first moment in the spot light lead to a penalty for the Reds.
An inventive run from Lucas straight into the box saw him taken down by Rami. Steven Gerrard successfully converted the spot kick and with just 8minutes on the clock Liverpool were 1-0 up on the night.
For the remaining half an hour or so left of the first half Liverpool continued to play some good football. With attempts from Lucas, Torres, Agger and Insua at goal just to name a few, we appeared relatively comfortable.
With no changes from both teams for the second half, Liverpool began in a similar style to the first.
Within 5 minutes Fernando Torres had created some magic for the Anfield faithful.
After a long ball up from Ryan Babel, Torres latched on to the ball taking it past the sole Lille defender with ease, his pace carried him forward as he ended in style with a typical Fernando Torres finish, dinked past the keeper and sent neatly into the net.
The third and final goal for Liverpool involved a struggle from Kuyt to keep possession, he managed to lay the ball to Lucas who then spotted Gerrard, Gerrard receives the ball and sets off on a run.
Torres already awaiting in the area, Stevie opts for a powerful shot, when it rebounds back out, Fernando is there to make sure the chance is converted and at 89minutes on the clock Liverpool had qualified for the quarter finals of the Europa League.
It was a nervy end to the second half with some flashes from Eden Hazard and the rest of the Lille attack. Knowing if they scored at that time we would have been out due to away goals rule, it was horrible to watch, thankfully though El Nino made any doubts a certainty.
A great team performance from Liverpool and a great display of how we know we can play.
With Manchester United up next, it is a massive chance for Liverpool, not only for bragging rights but to collect a vital and well needed 3 points.