Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Beating United at Old Trafford was twice as good as 2009... this would be up there with the glory days of Shankly and Paisley

On my way home from White Hart Lane on Sunday evening, I sent Steven Gerrard a message as I do after most Liverpool games.  
Normally I’ll ask him how he felt the match went or for his views on any major talking points but this time, having watched Liverpool dismantle Manchester United, no questions needed answering. So I punched the words ‘Twice as good as 2009’ into my phone.

I know what it is like to go to Old Trafford and win by three goals but I couldn’t tell you how it feels to go there, play United off the park and make them spend the last 10 minutes chasing shadows as Liverpool’s ecstatic fans shout ‘Ole!’ with each tormenting pass.

When we won 4-1 in March 2009, the final score was a little distorted.

Don’t get me wrong, our display was superb but we had to deal with spells of pressure, trailed to a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty and only pulled away in the last 13 minutes with two goals after Nemanja Vidic had been sent off.

I remember the celebrations in the away end being raucous and we were delighted as we walked off the pitch, yet our elation was tempered.

 We were still four points behind United, having played a game more. We hoped we would win the title but they still held the upper hand.

Sunday’s performance, however, was completely different. United may be an inferior side to the team they were five years ago but that should not detract one bit from what Liverpool did to them.

The intent was there from the first kick and 6-0 at the final whistle wouldn’t have been flattering.
What’s more, the impact of the result and performance will have been felt across Manchester at the Etihad Stadium, reaching Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium in the process. Nobody will dare underestimate Liverpool now.

Manuel Pellegrini, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger will have looked at the two games Liverpool have just faced, away trips to United and Southampton, and probably expected them to return with, at best, four points.

That they have come through them with six unanswered goals, maximum points and confidence soaring will be causing Pellegrini, Mourinho and Wenger concern. The more they get into this race, the more impressive Liverpool look.

Full credit to Brendan Rodgers, who is handling the situation supremely well. What you get with Brendan is exactly what you see.
In his interviews and in the technical area, he never gets over-excited, always remaining in control.
That’s what you want from a manager — focus and composure, a clear plan and unshakeable belief in his methods.
He is a coach who thinks progressively, coaxing improvement from his players with encouragement and giving them opportunities.
We get told constantly about the problems with the British game.
How players can’t play the right way or retain possession, yet here is a British manager defying the critics and showing it is possible for young players to play with style and great technique.

He has been repaid with consistent performances and increasingly impressive results and you only have to see how Jon Flanagan, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have come of age during this campaign, maturing from boys to men.

Sterling must now be a certainty to make the World Cup squad. He knows how to use his explosive pace and he has an end product to go with his skill. Flanagan, meanwhile, is putting himself into contention to be on the plane.

England are well stocked for full backs but if something were to happen to Glen Johnson or Kyle Walker, Flanagan should be the first port of call. He is more than just someone who can make a tackle and he is versatile, uses the ball well and is growing in confidence.

  • 1965 or Bob Paisley’s European Cup success of 1977
By Jamie Carragher

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2583008/JAMIE-CARRAGHER-EXCLUSIVE-This-win-twice-good-2009-Liverpool-major-title-contenders.html#ixzz2wJkMvs45
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