Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Some teams make headlines - others make history

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed

This is a place I'll always remember. It happened two years ago, but yet again, the glory of Liverpool can be reborn in three weeks time. I can't speak, I barely slept, but I don't care.

To those of you who criticised D Agger after last week, I present exhibit A. I don't think that Sami would have done any better against Drogba last week as Drogba has destroyed him at Anfield before. I know that Rafa doesn't like to single out individuals but Agger, hero no.1, deserves to take a bow. He recovered from a tough night last week and was immense last night. The goal was one straight off the training ground and was as sweet a strike as you'll see. For me, he's the best young defender in the league.

For all of those who ridiculed Zenden, me included, hang your heads in shame. Over the two legs, he's really stepped up to the plate. He's not the best player and he knows it. He was only brought in as a squad player but when injuries strike as we have at the moment with Kewell, Garcia and Aurelio all injured on the left wing, then you need the squad players to fill the breach. Bolo did his bit. Some of his crossing was poor last week but he did better last night when he had Crouch to aim for. When it came to the penalties he stood up and took the first strike. Bolo's off in the summer but he'll leave some good memories behind. When we won two years ago we had squad players who stept up and played beyond themselves during the run to the final like Biscan, Traore and Smicer. Maybe Bolo is that player this time.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again - put your hands up for Dirk Kuyt. Ran himself into the ground, linked well and lead from the front. He was really unlucky to hit the bar with a header and scored a legitimate goal in extra time that was disallowed for no reason. Then he stepped up and scored his penalty. He loves this city, and it loves him.

Pennant take a bow. I've talked a lot about Jermaine on the blog. Since January, he's been fantastic. He a confidence player and he's now showing what he can do when he's on top of his game. He ran Cole ragged last night and put over some amazing crosses. Crouch was unlucky to see Cech save his header from one of them. I expect Pennant to build upon this form next season.

Pepe proved that he's the penalty master. He saved from Geremi and Robben to mean that Dirk could win it for us. Cech is the best keeper in England but I don't think Pepe is far off him.

Stevie hasn't had a great season by his own standards but he was world class last night. He took shots, made crunching tackles and passed sublimely. Probably his best game this year so far. Who says that he doesn't produce in the big games? Hopefully he'll show more of the same in the final. Where was Lampard? Javier alongside him was also amazing. I hope that if he hasn't been signed on a permanent deal already, that it's tied up during the summer.

Rafa is a Buddhist. His cross legged seat for the penalties was in stark contrast to Jose and his fist pumping antics. Rafa is Zen. He is also uncannily prophetic. Jose may now be finished in England. Rafa is only just getting going.

Fulham on Sat will be a real anti-climax after this. All thoughts will be on the final in three weeks. I've already booked the day after off work. I don't care who wins tonight as I think we can beat either team. Obviously it would be even sweeter to beat the mancs. Bring it on.

Nights like last night are what we, as fans, live for. Liverpool and Anfield have served up a feast for the soul. I'll think about it often.

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more


JJ said...

FANTASTIC! Great, great, great, great night of football for every Pool fan. Agger superb, Gerrard brilliantly chasing back combined with a great set up for the goal, Zenden... hmmmm still slightly uneffective for my liking with a poor first touch all too often; and Pepe was very assured on Chelsea frees and corners but doubts remain.

But all in all I was immensely happy, considering they had to play knowing that one goal would kill them off I thought they handled the pressure well and outscored Chelsea handsomely as far as real (and half) chances go.

Rafa's zen antics at the end will live long in the memory as will the whole night. Roll on the 23rd, bring on the scum or the italians.

Mal said...

I don't care who we get in the final as I think we can beat either team.

Where's your blog post today? I was looking forward to reading it.

JJ said...

Will leave mark to put soemthing up due a mad busy day, his climb down (though then again I doubt there will be one) will be nice to see.

Alan said...

Thought you're review would be completely over the top - you'd suggested it might be! - but its more restrained than my sleep deprived comments has been all day. Then again, you've probably not had the fun of reminding a very long term Chelsea fan (and extremely good guy) about the differences between clubs who earn their history and those who try and buy it.
I agree completely with the points you made about Zenden btw. As a footballer he's not good enough but his character and commitment are immense. I saw an interview with him after the game and he talked an awful lot of sense. Its a bit of a leap but I do wonder will he turn out to be a far better coach than player. He has a personal presence that doesnt come across when he's on the pitch.

Mal said...

I think that Bolo has played his part, as mediocre players like Igor and Vlad did on the way to Istanbl.

Katherine said...

Here, what has:

There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed

got to do with Liverpool and effin' football? Connery has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, when is this tournament over?

Mal said...

Quote of the week from Pepe -
To be a great goalkeeper - and that is what I am trying to be - you must be f***ing strong. Excuse me for using that word.