Very rarely do you find the ever-so composed Steven Gerrard stifled with emotion and heaving such a sigh of relief as the one he did in Sunday. The England and Liverpool skipper has converted 11 penalties this season showing his composure and lack of nerves when asked to stand up. However, as Mark Clattenberg blew the final whistle at Anfield in a humdinger of a game between Liverpool and Man City, where the Scousers edged it 3-2; celebrations went through the roof. Mobbed by his colleagues, Gerrard tried hard to hide away his tears but he couldn’t. That’s what that victory meant to the skipper, that’s what the victory meant to the Merseysiders.
Liverpool have stamped a mark on almost all of their opponents with a start to a game not many can consistently pull off. 6 minutes into the game, Suarez found the youngest player on the pitch running in behind City’s back-4. England hopeful Raheem Sterling calmly brought the ball under control and produced an absolute magic trick that left the everyone dumbfounded. The young winger turned in then out, sending Kompany and Hart the wrong way to calmly, slot the ball into the net as if it were as easy as stealing candy from a kid. Not a bad way, to impress the England boss in the stands, Raheem.
20 minutes later, Liverpool were at it again. Brendan Rodgers has spoken about the importance of making the most out of set-pieces and when Coutinho found his skipper unmarked in the City box, everyone thought Liverpool had doubled their lead only, for Gerrard’s national team keeper Joe Hart to pull off a sharp reflex save. However from the corner that resulted Martin Skrtel rose high at the front post and calmly nodded beyond the reach of Hart for the Red’s second. Liverpool in dreamland.
City’s task couldn’t have been bigger. Losing their talismanic, Yaya Toure to injury and going 2-0 behind in a cauldron called Anfield the sky blues had to come up with an answer. Having weathered a storm, City came into the game in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson had to clear off the line following a scramble and Liverpool’s Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet produced a superb low save to deny Fernandinho.
Second half began with more of the same, City were finally imposing themselves on the game. Manuel Pelligrini brought on James Milner to replace the rather ineffective Jesus Navas and the Englishman paid his Gaffer in grand style setting up David Silva with a clever cut-back down the right. 57 minutes on the clock and City were back in it with a bang.
Within no time, City were level and it was David Silva again. The Spaniard linked cleverly with Samir Nasri down the left and forced an inadvertent own goal off Glen Johnson. Liverpool looked nervous and Anfield went silent.
However, the will to win no matter what, that’s what has been Liverpool’s motto this season. And pouncing on a mistake by Kompany with 12minutes to go Coutinho just proved that motto yet again. Barring a late red-card for Jordan Henderson for a reckless tackle on Nasri Liverpool were quite magnificent.
‘This is over. Next week we go to Norwich. We do the same,’ these were some of the words a teary-eyed Steven Gerrard yelled at his team-mates in an emotional huddle after the game. A month to go and this couldn’t have got more exciting for the neutrals.