Sunday, December 28, 2008

4-4-2 for two on the weekend

The Boxing Day, jammed-up fixture list couldn't have gone much better. Eight goals, one conceded, Keane looking alive again - just a fun couple of games and a refreshing, stress-free few hours of watching Liverpool take care of business.

The weekend's surprise, though, was Rafa - kidney stones and all - telling Sammy Lee to go 4-4-2 against Bolton and Newcastle. What's going on with the man? Have the kidney stones given him a new awareness of his own mortality, and in turn, made him realize top of the table after 20 matches means he really ought to go for it while the opportunity presents itself? Is he preparing the team to rock Torres and Keane up front, together, when Fernando's damn hamstring heals?

Such a new, vibrant Liverpool was on display. It's so exciting, especially because Keane waking up and proving himself useful is almost like getting a January buy - only without paying for anything. Likewise, Insua's emergence at left back with Aurelio injured and Dossena being a donkey has been a revelation. Again, it's as though Rafa is bringing in a new player during the window but at no cost.

Whatever it is, Liverpool this weekend looked like a side prepared to take advantage of their position in the league and absolutely go for it. To this point, I'd been cautiously optimistic. You don't want to get ahead of yourself, it's early in the year, blah, blah, blah. Now it's time to go. And Liverpool played like a team looking to seize the chance.

UPDATE: In retrospect, Liverpool definitely did not play 4-4-2 against Newcastle, as Gerrard was actually, now that I think about it, in the infamous "free" role behind Kuyt. It's debatable, I guess, because what exactly is the "free" role? The guy does just about anything he wants. However, I'll stand by my claim they went 4-4-2 against Bolton, as it went Babel, Alonso, Gerrard, Benayoun across the middle with Kuyt and Keane up front. Keane spent time in the hole, but I'm grasping at a theory here, dammit, and I'm sticking to it.

1 comment:

casey said...

Just a quickie since this is old news now, but I was at St. James for the match and I wanted to share a little of my experience. First, the tickets were a Christmas present from my Toon Army in-laws and I was instructed under no circumstances (for my own personal safety) to cheer for L'pool (as I was in general seating and not the "away" section). So everything was hunky dory except for me feeling like a total Judas. Also, I just have to say that by the end of it, I felt sorry for N'castle because after that quagmire of a 3rd goal, everything after was like shooting fish in a barrel. Oh, and N'castle wasn't offside. They had no illusion of winning the match, calling that goal offside was just kneecapping them. So I had a great time, but had lots of mixed emotions. Next time I'll just have to go to a non-N'castle match so I can proper enjoy it.