Are Liverpool "Stok"ing Fire into Their Dampened Title Race?

Kr.Abhimanyu VINAY RAJPUT Analyst IAugust 20, 2009

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19:  Glen Johnson (L) of Liverpool scores his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on August 19, 2009 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Football is like an unknown candy. You won't always like the flavor, but then you did buy it.

Football results are the same. Like an expensive candy being bought from the market store, you never know what you're in for.

The defeat at White Hart Lane was exaggerated to an extent, as if Liverpool were already out of the title race or are in May, pot less.

Lucas, despite his fine performance, was branded as non-Alonso-like, and Liverpool were deemed to lose or be doomed, the very least, without Alonso's services.

And this was after the first game.

I wonder what will happen midway through the season, as it unfolds.


The interesting thing to note is how a result psychologically plays with the fickle minds of the fans or et al.

And media plays along, as if it were the famed piped piper leading a hoard of the unenlightened beings to the inevitable and most sought-after truth.

With reports being rife about a certain rumor, well, the media will certainly make you sure that an impossible event is inevitable.

But, yes, we dance along to the media's tunes.

Concerning Liverpool's defeat to Spurs on opening day, there are two possible and sane reasons of why we couldn't continue our previous 4-0 scoreline form.

Firstly, a good amount of the core squad were given extended leave.

And secondly, Liverpool's centre-backs were having a harrowing time.

Not only in containing the Spurs attacking gang but also with the injuries sustained by the unfortunate collision during the match.

It was really sickening to see that happen.

However, seeing an 18-year-old Ayala coming on for a nail-crunching defender like Skrtel was shocking.

On the contrary, despite the defeat, the teenager produced a fine display, strengthening my belief in our club's ability to produce world-class players.

Ayala is not of Carra's mold already but in time, after his fine display at a hostile ground, was encouraging.

But most importantly Rafa believed in the youngster to put on a show.

With Spurs having displayed a classy first-half performance, I felt that it wasn't our day—and so it wasn't with the final scoreline being 1-2.

Johnson proved a point for us and, more importantly, for Rafa, who dished out a figure of which we all know, what he's capable of.

But last night's over-the-board performance really proves that Arbeloa to Johnson is a great transition.

Plus, add Johnson as an English to the Spanish Liverpool, it seems that Johnson and Liverpool are a match made in heaven.

This alone hints that Aquilani could be another good or great signing, after our Keane debacle.

While I may be called a fool for not noting Xabi's absence causing midfield creativity issues, Xabi is the past.

If we still, like the media, start comparing the Liverpool-plus-Xabi of last year and Liverpool-minus-Xabi of this year, well, it would be plain stupid.

Rather, Lucas Leiva's improved performances are surely to be noted.

Being a 22-year-old Brazilian and being booed by the faithful isn't much of a positive.

But you do get the stick for performing badly in the worst manner, considering the fast and impatient times of football.

I, however, question those who criticize and write him off; as such, where were these people when Lucas filled in for Xabi Alonso at Old Trafford?

We know the result.

Where were these "critics" when Lucas produced a fine display in the Champions League draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, when he inspired a mini-comeback with his deflected goal—contrary to this, many might argue that it was a deflected goal, but, if you don't try for a shot, then the ball isn't going to end in the back of the net on its own.

Lucas is primed, if he continues to play well, to be the "next" Liverpool midfielder.

I'm not tuning to a Samba dance, but I'm keeping faith for the first Brazilian to have scored for us.

"Stoke"d Apart?!

When your team blows its league opener in the most unkindly manner, it's quite frustrating to see that happen as a supporter.

But if the team makes a thumping deal out of it in the very next game, you do feel all the preseason optimism coming back.

Stoke is the only team, aside from Arsenal, to have held Liverpool twice in the league last season.

And here they were, down 1-0 already to a Torres opener in the fourth minute itself.

Another fantastic performance from Stevie G, and Johnson meant that three points from the fixture wasn't an issue.

But how many (goals) before the full-time mattered.

Ninety minutes and 4-0 up, with N'Gog and DK also joining the party, it seems we have added the much-needed fuel and fired up our dampened title charge.

Considering the response, it seems as if the Spurs defeat was a thing of the past.

Funny how a result changes everything.

But as a universal truth, wins make us proud and defeats make us learn.

We made a lot of mistakes last year, and the Stoke result surely means that we are clearly a much better (and having learned from miserable draws) side along with the progression made.

Surely, the Reds have "Stoke"d in a fire to rekindle the title hopes and possibilities of achieving it after 19 years of wait.

Note from the Author: David G's analysis of the Stoke City game.


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