Cole Gets Ball Rolling In Liverpool Rout
Lucas dedicates his celebration to his unborn child...
It was a rather wet and windy setting for Liverpool's game last night against Steaua Bucharest but who needs sunshine to brighten things up when you have the Reds on superb form?
It was a mixed team fielded by the boss and it was a side missing the likes of Carragher, Gerrard and Torres. Ngog was given another chance up front and the XI also included academy boys Spearing and Kelly who were more than willing to impress Hodgson and the fans.
I was still getting settled and into a comfortable position when Liverpool first decided to raise the eyebrows of everyone watching. After just 30 seconds a very sloppy defensive pass from the Romanians meant Joe Cole could sneakily steal the ball, after making the run his shot wide past the keeper almost seemed as though he had missed the target but his effort found it's way in and Anfield was jumping.
I'm so pleased for the lad, we all know he's not necessarily here for banging loads in the net but that will have completely settled his nerves about meeting our high expectations and can imagine he enjoyed it! Ecstatic.
After the goal the boys seemed to do the opposite of what everyone was expecting, after such an early advantage surely we would at least be forward pushing and go on the full attack... But it was Steaua who found a new set of legs and the next ten minutes for Liverpool proved difficult as the Romanians came through strong.
12 minutes in and the Reds had already lost their lead. A great ball through to Tanase allowed him to complete a superb finish and send the ball over an out coming Reina and into goal in front of the Kop end.
It was a good goal and looking at their performance minutes before hand, the Reds may have been in trouble if they failed to concentrate.
Steaua made a substitution in the midst of their steady half hour or so switching Emeghara for Nicolita. Thankfully Liverpool managed to keep the door shut up until the 45minute mark despite an impressive display from the Romanians and the boys entered the second half level.
Kick off for the second half and within moments it was clear that Liverpool were more refreshed, an enthusiastic team talk maybe? Mixed with a will to go out and please the fans? Whatever it was the local lads Martin Kelly and Jay Spearing were certainly raring to go. They weren't willing to fail in front of the Kop.
A truly inspiring display from both lads with some great crosses and forward runs from Kelly not to mention some fantastic last minute tackles and good protective play from Spearing and even a decent long range shot at goal.
Liverpool found themselves at 55minutes with a chance to take the lead. After contact was made on Kyrgiakos in the box (no denying though that Soto seems to have had some amateur dramatics lessons recently after he made it very clear he'd been grabbed haha) the referee gave a penalty.
Up steps David Ngog. A calm penalty sent low to the right of the keeper and the Reds were 2-1 up.
At this stage i was having that strange feeling when you have a punt on your own side...
I'd had a cheeky quid on Liverpool 2-1 Torres to score first. It was a sort of last minute thing and it didn't cross my mind that Torres may be rested, so of course, Nando was in the stands in his suit but after double checking with me Pa, my bet would apparently go to just the scoreline so one part of me wanted it to stay 2-1 and the other wanted to see us smash in some more goals.
I must say, what followed though was worth much more than the £8 quid i would have collected.
Liverpool had now well and truly found their footing and things only got better when Lucas entered the field of play.
The Brazilian had only been on the pitch for a few minutes when out of nowhere he fancies a pop from 30yards. There is no way to describe it other than an absolute belter! Fantastic for the man who is so often made the scapegoat, he's no world beater we know this but he's so under rated.
Steaua were quiet for the second half and it appeared their lively selves had just lost most of that electric energy that they had in the first 45minutes. A few flickers of chances but nothing really to trouble Liverpool meant that the Reds could now end the game in freedom.
Not content with just the 3 goals and David Ngog not content with just the 1 for his night of work, in extra time the Frenchman with a confident run against a few yellow shirts made it 4-1 for Liverpool with another great finish.
Brilliantly done, a top performance from the whole team, and for the first time this season i think the display filled us with hope. That was an impressive performance against a team that at one stage seemed like real trouble. A side missing some of our star names too, the boys efforts need to be cheered.
With that major confidence boost and just general lift then Liverpool are perfectly poised going into the match against bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday. With Torres, Gerrard and Carragher back we all know what those three boys add to our game and if Lucas fancies his chances i'm more than willing to celebrate a screamer like that in front of the Man Ure lot in the pub!
Bring it on ay!