Raheem - The Wonder Kid
Now I make no apology for naming Raheen Sterling as the wonder kid, although Joe Allen also played extremely well and to be also deserves several accolades for his performance this afternoon.
Today of course was the start of Liverpool's campaign at Anfield and after the disastrous result at West Bromwich Albion last week, not only were changes needed to the personnel on the pitch but also the players attitude.
Brendan of course rang some changes last Thursday for our Europa Cup game against Hearts. Changes, that ensured that the style of play on the pitch was much more to his likely. It was a scrappy game but we won and one of the players that did well that evening was Raheem Sterling.
Now Raheem is only seventeen but from the moment he signed for the academy, people knew that he was something special. So special that after last Thursday's display, he was chosen to play against our opponents this afternoon. They were of course, last year's premiership champions, Manchester City.
I will be honest here, when I say from the moment I had saw the leaked team, early this morning, my only doubt was Sebastian Coates, not Raheem although he is the younger of the two.
Raheem of course proved me right, from the moment that Andre Marriner blew the whistle to start the game. He was an absolute joy to watch, his pace and his reading of the game was excellent as was the way that he went into tackles. Yes he gave away a couple of free kicks, but then again every player does that at some point in their career.
It was of course one of those games; where the team who got the upper hand was the one that would probably go on to win it. With this in mind Liverpool showed their intent from the beginning and the football that we all witnessed was a pleasure to watch. The way the players passed and read the game was fantastic, as was the speed at which it was being played.
Play of course continued with Raheem and Joe Allen showing the rest of the team how to play, if I am honest. You could see the enjoyment in their faces as well as the lack of fear as they attacked the Manchester City team. In fact, I think Toure wondered what on earth had hit him because Raheem was making him feel so isolated.
Joe Allen of course had played under Brendan at Swansea and was no stranger to the style of football now being played. I do not know the exact figure but I suspect every pass that he made, was more or less a perfect one and this encouraged those players such as Stevie G to play well.
Now Stevie had two shots at the goal early in the game but as luck would have it, they did not go in. But as the game progressed it became more and more evident that if anybody was going to score before the half time whistle it was going to Liverpool.
It was towards the end of the first half when Liverpool was rewarded a corner which Stevie G sent towards the box. Skrtel being Skrtel had timed his run correctly and sent one of his thunderous headers straight into the back of the net. Joe Hart had no chance and Liverpool was 1-0 to the good.
The only downside to the first half was I guess when Lucas limped off after just 4 minutes having injured his thigh and I suspect I was not the only one who grimaced when it happened. The thought of losing Lucas for another nine months was too much to bear for several minutes. Hopefully once the doctors know the extent of the injury tomorrow; it will be that he will be out for weeks rather than months.
The second half started in the same way that the first half had finished. Liverpool quickly showed that they were the team in the ascendency once again. The movement and the work rate of the team was fantastic to watch - the football was what I call, on the edge of seat stuff. You really could not take your eyes of the screen or indeed if you were at game off the pitch. To lose concentration would have meant you missed something.
That of course is what happened on the pitch in the second half once Roberto Mancini had decided to make several changes. The first was a mistake which caused Martin Kelly to knock a ball towards Toure who, with Liverpool's defence slacking for the first time, found the back of the net. The second was a dreadful lapse in concentration by Skrtel who kicked a ball back towards Pepe. A ball which was picked up by Tevez and sent into the back of the net,
In between that of course Luis Suarez, proved to all his doubters that he can indeed find the back of the net. He was given the task of taking a free kick, which was awarded after Jack Rodwell blocked a shot from Stevie G on the edge of the area. That free kick was curled by Suarez and as Anfield erupted it found the back of the net.
The score was now 2-2 and with only ten minutes remaining Brendan substituted Borini with Andy Carroll. Andy did all he could in the time he was on the pitch and it appeared that bad luck had simply got in the way once again, when he picked up a header and failed to send it towards the goal.
The game finished and to be honest the score line was not the true story. Liverpool were the better team on the afternoon and if those 'silly' mistakes had not happened then we would have been talking about our first home win of the season.
Mistakes happen though and at this point in the season they need to be seen as just that. Brendan will I am sure do what he can with the players in training, to ensure that they do not happen again.
The match itself showed that the football that Brendan wants to set in stone at Anfield, is beginning to take shape. It also showed that if you give young players like Raheem the chance to shine, they do and will continue to do so, as they progress in their Liverpool careers.
It also showed us that if the team continue to play like that throughout the season, we the supporters have a wonderful journey ahead of us.