He Came, He Saw And he Conquered
Last Thursday night is the night that young Fabio Borini will remember for the rest of his life. That was the night that not only did he make his Anfield debut but he also scored his first goal for the club.
It was also the night that marked the 700th appearance of Jamie Carragher for Liverpool Football Club and was marked by a presentation by Roy Evans. Roy of course was the man that introduced Jamie to first team football at the club and on behalf of all Liverpool supporters, please accept my thanks for doing so. Jamie has been a wonderful servant for the club and I am sure that will continue, until and beyond, when he finally hangs his boots.
But and as much as I hate to say it, the one thing that pleased those of us who can remember the Anfield goalposts of the past, was the return of the red nets - another of the old ways re-introduced into the club by Brendan. Would it stop the players hitting the post, was one of those questions that would be answered before the end of the 93 minutes.
The match itself of course was the second leg of our game against FC Gomel in the Europa Cup. Liverpool of course had scored one goal the previous week in Belarus, but the match itself was a very scrappy game due not only to the fitness levels of the players but having to adapt to a new system of play.
Anfield was bathed in sunshine as the teams were led out onto a fantastic looking Anfield pitch and before the game started Jamie, who had been relegated to the bench, was presented with a Liver Bird to mark his 700th appearances for the club. His 701st would come later in the game.
Brendan had rung the changes with his team selection and it contained not only new boy, Fabio Borini but signalled the return of Lucas Leiva who was starting his first game since the horrific injury he sustained last season. The Anfield crowd of course showed their appreciation of this with a round of applause as he walked out.
The speed at which the game was played was first and furious from the beginning and the style of football was a joy to watch. Everyone from Stevie G to Pepe Reina knew exactly what they had to do and FC Gomel was completely overrun. So much so that it did not take too long for Liverpool to score the first goal of the evening.
That goal of course came from Fabio Borini, who after picking up a fantastic pass from Luis Suarez, sent it goal bound. The lad had arrived and as promised his trademark celebration was on show for the first time in front of the Kop. A celebration that I am sure we will become accustomed to seeing.
Luis of course had not been involved in any of our pre-season games due to his involvement with the Uruguayan Olympic team, but having watched him in training, Brendan had decided he deserved to start. A decision which, throughout the game was totally vindicated as Luis was on fire. His movement and his enthusiasm shone throughout not only the first half but also the second.
He was as I have said above not only involved in the first goal but also the second which led to Sevie G scoring his 150th goal for the club.
With the first half coming to a close, Pepe Reina was called into action and if the truth be known, it was only fate that stopped FC Gomel opening their account.
The second half arrived and there was no let-up in pressure from the Liverpool team. The loss of energy and enthusiasm that marred most of last season during the second half simply was not there. Everyone knew that they had a game to win, a game that would ensure their progress into the next round of the FA Cup.
It was the half that saw a thunderous strike by Glen Johnson hit the back of the net, sending the shock waves through the FC Gomel team, although give them their due, they played as well as they could until the end of the game. The goal posts also got a look in, when Stevie G sent a ball slightly off target. Hopefully and with fingers crossed, that will be the only time it happens this season.
Also and I guess out of habit, when the game reached the 65th minute you expected Brendan to make the first of changes. This did not happen and it was towards the end of the game when Jamie, Charlie and Jay made their entrance replacing, Skrtel, Jonjo and finally Lucas, who did extremely well on his return.
The match itself ended with Liverpool winning 4-0 on agrregate as well as announcing to the watching world that Luis Suarez and the new look Liverpool were back and in the hunt for a season of cups and honours.
It was a match that also let John Henry and FSG know that as far as Liverpool Supporters are concerned Daniel Agger is not for sale. His name was chanted throughout the game along with regular renditions of He is going nowhere. That of course remains to be seen and I guess we shall just have to patient and hope that when the transfer window closes in three weeks' time, nobody has met the rumoured £27 mill asking price.
It was as I said in the opening paragraph a great evening for Fabio Borini, who showed us the type of football he can play. A type of football, that showed how quickly he can link up with players that he had never played with before, as though they had never been apart.
The next game at Anfield is this Sunday when Liverpool play Sami Hyppia's Bayer Leverkusen in their last pre-season friendly. A game that will I am sure see Joe Allen in a Liverpool shirt for the first time rather than being spotted in the Director's box at Anfield.