Is Robbie Keane Going the Fernando Torres Way ?
Sunday's game against Arsenal was marred by the controversial card, but the game did produce two fantastic strikes by two totally different forwards. While Van Persie's goal was sensational, Keano's belter was nothing short of it either.
But it's not the comparison of Van Persie and Keane or their strikes, but of El Nino and Keano. Both are strikingly different individuals.
Keane, a boyhood Liverpool fan, joined the Reds at £20.5 million this season from Spurs, after netting 23 goals including 15 in the premier league. While El Nino would also be acquired around £20 million he would come with a great reputation after netting 15 goals for Atletico for them in the previous season.
But Torres' arrival was last year and Keano was still playing for Spurs. There's also the age difference, with Keano being born in 1980 while Torres was born in 1984.
So the blond 6'1" Madrid-born Spaniard has nothing in common with the 5'8" Dublin-born Irishman. And neither do they share the same scoring record for their first season in their respective careers at Liverpool, at least for the moment. Keano has had a slow start while Torres was already terrorizing defenses not only in the league but also Europe, as Porto and Marseille would be victimized by his exploits as a striker.
So apart from the fact that they both play in the forward position they have got not even an ounce of similarity.
Still, Keano's thrilling half volley against the Gunners bought back the memories of Torres' remarkable drive against Chelsea during his Anfield debut.
Goal from Torres!
Torres was known for his record scoring feats for Atletico and that was what he did during the 15th minute at his full Anfield debut.
Gerrard's 20-yard pass from almost near the half way line fell in the way of Torres splitting the Chelsea defense and leaving them to cover their flank on the left side.
Tal Ben Haim—the then Chelsea right back—backtracks to stop Torres but what surprises him is the Spaniard taking him head on. Most of the forwards tend to hold up the ball for further players to arrive in the box or defend the ball from losing possession by heading deeper towards the opposition goal.
Torres uses his first touch to keep possession while running towards the box but the second touch of his right foot completely stumps Ben Haim. Rather than holding up or shoot from a distance, Torres cuts towards the inside—rather than the outside—of Haim and into the box.
Haim can't keep up with Torres' pace and an equally confused Cech—with Essien and Terry pacing backwards towards goal—moves from his line to stop any goal scoring opportunity. Though Cech is in good position to stop any attempt on goal, it's Torres placement—for the far post—that gets the better of the Czech keeper.
The ball is hit with such good pace that it slides past Cech's outstretched left arm, leaving the far post to do the rest of the honors as a starstruck Terry and Essien return in time to see the ball cross the line.
A sensational goal—for quite a while from a Liverpool No. 9—leaves Anfield wild with joy.
Spectacular from Keane!
Keano—for the large part of the match he played—was booed constantly at the Emirates. That could have made him hit back at the fans.
Glimpses of Xavi Valero's (goalkeeping coach) constantly being on the mobile phone meant one thing: Benitez was passing on instructions from his home while watching the match on TV.
If one of Rafa's many instructions would have been to pass the ball forward and let Keano do the rest, then the dividends of such were duly paid in the 41st minute of the match.
A follow-up from a Clichy throw-in left Agger with the ball bouncing down in flight. The Dane would hit the ball so hard that the ball would land almost 60 yards away from the position of being hit.
Keano would follow up the ball by beating the Gunners' last two defenders—Gallas and Djourou—and the offside trap. Both the defenders fail to keep up with Keane's pace as he moved towards the Gunners' goal and a cautious but startled Almunia.
A determined Keane would pace up to the ball and on the second bounce he would incredibly balance his left foot and shoot a half volley—with all the power—with his right.
The ball would crash into the goal netting with great pace, leaving exasperated runs from Gallas and Djourou along with Almunia's hopeful dive meaningless. His celebration was quite indicative of the deafening voice of the traveling and the silence of the Arsenal faithful.
The technicality of beating the offside trap and hitting an already paced up ball at a particular landing is quite difficult. But the determination of silencing the opposition fans at a hostile venue can particularly make things possible, as in the case of the strike. No wonder the shot contained more power than the placement, reminiscent of the thought that not just anywhere but the goal.
Yes, the drives are quite contrasting from one another other. While Torres' strike was all about placement of the ball, Keano made it up with his powerful right-footed shot at a hostile venue.
But one of these moments would have already marked a fantastic season for one of them. That, as we all know, is Torres.
So could it be the beginning of another spurt of goals from another player? It could be.
The confidence it brings in the players while scoring against good or better—in the case of Arsenal—results in a change of ideology and pattern of thinking. That is all that is required in modern football—a moment of complete brilliance from a player. The rest follows up.
As the new Keano song says:
“He wears the sacred No. 7
And with his pace the teams will be scared
He'll do a cartwheel and run towards the Kop
As he kisses the liverbird"
Let's wish the boyhood Reds supporter does the No. 7 jersey—once worn by Keegan and Dalglish—and the club proud.
But for the moment we hope to see more cartwheel celebrations and runs towards the Kop from the Irishman.
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