24th October 2010 – we should remember that day. The first home game of a new era at LFC. After a hellish 3 year downward spiral under the ownership of Hicks and Gillett the most recent weeks and months have seen drama unfold in the courtroom of which many a word and opinion has been cast but now, finally, can we see the golden sky at the end of the storm?
It has been a torrid start to the season and the negativity surrounding the off-field affairs was widely felt, nowhere more so, in my opinion – others will disagree, than in the dressing room. For all the “we just concentrate on playing football” comments from the players it is clear that from all the negative publicity in the press, the vociferous protestations within and around the ground by angry fans and the public litigation, it must have been playing on their minds. After all, if you go in to work and hear talk of a takeover, the Exec board falling out and uncertainty over whether or not the company is going to continue after a certain date, I bet it would play on your mind wouldn’t it?
Anyway, I for one am just glad that we can now get back to what we know we are good at – playing football. Recent results have been less than satisfactory – some may argue unforgiveable, some may argue we had a few perfectly losable games. Look at these fixtures for example; Man City (A), Man Utd (A), Everton (A) – in any season we might come unstuck against these teams especially away from home so there may be justification. Let’s see what we can do when we get them back to our place.
Then there was the game away at Birmingham who hadn’t been beaten at home for almost a year, so a draw seemed a reasonable result, if a little disappointing. Sunderland at home should have been a win but as a result of a poor run and a lack of confidence, a point perhaps didn’t seem quite so bad. Our only win of the season had been at home to West Brom, at least we got that one right! What we didn’t get right, however, was the Blackpool result. Ugh! I don’t want to think about that again. Just a miserable day.
But now, the new era, are LFC back? Judging by the performance against Blackburn I’d say we’re certainly well on the right track again. The performance of the team certainly showed signs of improvement, everyone worked hard, everyone showed some desire. Wave after wave of attack, some skilful interplay and neat passing, solid defending and (rather more notably I felt) the effort and work rate, particularly if the ball was lost, battling back to regain possession.
Perhaps geed on by the rousing rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ led by Gerry Marsden, there was certainly more of a buzz around the Ground than experienced so far this season. Electrifying at times it clearly emanated onto the pitch and the players reacted to it with an inspired first half performance which lacked only the vital goal – but certainly a marked improvement. In turn the crowd got behind the team and spurred them on early in the 2nd half to get that vital goal. Thanks to Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who again was immense in the back row, leapt to head the opener on 48 from a Steven Gerrard corner. Completely against the run of play, Blackburn squeezed in an equaliser 2 minutes after. Jamie Carragher deflected into his own net a shot by Diouf, who incidentally was booed for the entire game whenever he got the ball – proper panto!
What we had lacked in recent games was the ability to come back from conceding a goal but, with the crowd cheering them on, the lads continued to press forward playing nice passing football at great tempo and another lively spell meant that within 3 minutes of the Blackburn equaliser Joe Cole placed a perfect cross in to Fernando Torres who could not miss and sent the Kop into rapturous applause. What a time for Torres to get back on the score sheet and silence the travelling fans. The stadium was once again bouncing to the tune of Liverpool’s Number 9 and after a couple of unchallenged crosses into our box and a possible penalty shout for Kyrgiakos in front of the Kop we managed to see out the game and pick up a vital 3 points.
Ok so the win does not move us out of the bottom 3 but it keeps us in touch with several teams above us including Bolton in 8th place who we go to next Sunday.
A long way to go but we know we can turn things around if we play like we did yesterday. The end of the storm? Not quite there yet but there are signs of improvement and regaining the confidence. I reckon we can get there with a good run of decent results up to Christmas and hopefully next year we’ll be able to forget all about relegation and concentrate on consolidating our place in the top half of the table and from there, who knows where we could finish up.
Form is temporary, class is permanent.YNWA