Watch Your Back Harry
Are words I suspect going through the minds of many Liverpool supporters this evening after our victory at Sunderland.
As we all know Liverpool do not appear to travel well on the road and particularly under Roy Hodgson our away record was dire. Having already won away already with Kenny, would this afternoon's game become another notch in his claim for permanent management status from John Henry. John Henry incidentally I understand was at the game and a good performance was needed by all.
Liverpool were also aware that they had to seek retribution for the beach ball incident last season - an incident that I suspect will live on in the memories of people for many season to come. It had to be done in the right and proper way of course, but nobody at the start of the game, would have believed it would be down to referee Kevin Friend and his fourth official to ensure that Liverpool got revenge.
The game itself started after yet another impeccably observed minutes silence for the people of Japan and at first gave the impression that it was going to be yet another dire performance. For the first fifteen minutes Liverpool did not seem to know where they were or what to do, although Jay Spearing was already giving us an indication of what a great game he would have. Then Mensah decided he was having none of it and clipped Jay who fell and immediately referee Kevin Friend awarded Liverpool a free kick, only to be told by his linesman that Jay was actually caught in the area and a penalty should have been given. Several seconds later, the decision was changed and Dirk Kuyt stood up and shot the ball straight into the back of the net. Liverpool was one up. which of course signalled the usual complaints from Steve Bruce, but with Sunderland that is part and parcel of the day.
This livened up the team and it became evident very quickly that Liverpool were gaining the momentum although Sunderland did have a further slice of bad luck. Steve Bruce had to make two very early substitutions and jig his team around to give them any chance of reganing the momentum. This they did not and at half time Liverpool went down to the dressing rooms in the lead but with a very tired looking Andy Carroll.
I will honest when I say I thought he would be substituted at half time but Kenny thought differently and out he came still looking for the elusive first goal for his new club. It was unfortunately not going to be his day though and with twenty minutes left to play, he was replaced by Ngog. Although Andy showed promise and certainly indicated that he will be be good in the air, the lad is not yet match fit so we should not expect too much as yet.
Suarez on the other hand, well what can you say about that young man. After having a pretty mundane first half where he was getting frustrated through lack of pace, he come out with all guns blazing and we began to see the Suarez, we had seen during the game against Manchester United. He moved in and out of the Sunderland defence causing problems which gained us a couple of free kicks. These were both taken and kicked over the bar which of course was a great shame. Then it happened, some fancy moves from Dirk Kuyt who linked up with Suarez and from an impossible angle came a wonderful goal.
Liverpool were winning, the travelling Liverpool contingent were singing as loud as they could and the afternoon could not have been more perfect, until suddenly Suarez pulled up with what is believed to be a groin injury. He was immediately replaced by Joe Cole who for the remaining eight minutes of the game was barely noticed.
The game finished with the lads doing a celebration to announce the arrival of young Pedro Lucas and of course Kenny had one of those wonderful smiles on his face. Bruce on the other hand was fuming, but that is what football is all about.
The win today has of course brought us closer to Tottenham and the fifth place spot in the league. Which, of course, is now our only route into Europe next season? To get it of course, we really have to win all our remaining games and by doing so, send a message to Harry that confirms we are on our way back. Tottenham may think they have a European place awaiting them if they falter in this season's competition, but going by today my message to Harry is to watch your back