I can’t believe that it took me so long (24 hours!) to blog about Liverpool’s mammoth of a win against Les Merengues or better known as Real Madrid, but thats only because I was bogged down with appointments and work. Really!
Anyway, what a victory it was to snatch all 3 points right from under their noses at the end of the game, and the fact that it was on their own home turf makes it all sweeter than ever.
No doubt Madrid carved a few decent chances, even a goal was ruled offside, but the determination and tenacity that was displayed by Liverpool, is simply outstanding — and i think its the first time I’ve seen THE WHOLE team actually playing their hearts out for a win this year.
Perhaps it was Steven Gerrard’s absence that propelled them to step up a gear, or maybe it was the nasty tumours of Rafa Benitez getting the sack, that was the catalyst for their superb performance to prove doubters wrong.
Either way, Liverpool didn’t crumble beneath the tide that was Real Madrid, who dominated a lion’s share of the possession, but instead pulled a sucker punch and stolidly defended. Impressive indeed, and impressed I was.
My man of the match, no make it MEN of the match, were Alonso, Kuyt and Mascherano. Actually the whole team would have made it but I felt like singling these three magnificient players out.
Alonso: Broke down plenty of Real’s attacks and initiated most of Liverpool’s offenses. Deft touches, here and there gave Madrid’s midfielders lots of problems. His audacious, and certainly not impossible, long range shots would have capped his brilliant display, but what a save from Casillas to deny him the goal.
Kuyt: As always was his industrious self and became extremely valuable in earning Liverpool vantage points, via freekicks in the opposition half. He tormented defenders into making hasty passes and clearances and drifted in and out of the flanks, causing confusions within Madrid’s defenses. This fella too would be well off with a well deserved goal, but just too bad today wasn’t his scoring day.
As for Mascherano, he snapped and terrorised Real’s forwards, he protected his defenders from the onslaught, he guarded his flanks from beind exposed, and even chased the ball madly when it was dragged back into the opposing half. Tireless and insatiable, he epitomised Reds’ performance with lots of grit, hard running and ruthless determination.
So usually an away goal would be good enough to advance to the next stage, but somehow I have this hunch that Liverpool will concede an early goal against Madrid, in the return leg. But as always, they’ll be saved by a Gerrard brilliance or a Torres miracle and (touch wood) earn that quarterfinal berth, so I reckon it will be another tight outcome, during the return leg at Anfield.
As it stands, Real Madrid 0 – Liverpool 1. Until the next leg, you’ll never walk alone.