With back-to-back wins at the end of February, Rafa and the boys went into the new month brimming with confidence. The hopes and dreams of finishing fourth were once again looking like becoming reality, but it was up to us to make sure that we kept up this momentum.
With what looked like an easy trip up the road to Wigan starting the month of March with three points looked like a certainty. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for us as we were completely lacklustre throughout.
Torres missed a hatful of golden chances, with very few even hitting the target. It was a complete contrast to the win over Blackburn only a few days beforehand.
On a more positive note we did see the return of Glen Johnson after the former Portsmouth man’s injury. But even that wasn’t enough to give us enough attacking intent to find the equaliser.
Will Glen be able to spur us on against Lille in the Europa League if he starts?
No. That’s the simple truth. We were very disappointing, again, giving us much concern for the month ahead. There was again that real lack of urgency or quality in the final third only for us to concede another goal and suffer our second 1-0 defeat on the bounce.
This time there was very little to be positive about, will there be a change in our fortunes when we face the bottom side of the league at the weekend?
This time when we took to the field against Portsmouth we were on fire. Unlike the game at Fratton Park which was shocking, we took the game to Pompey with a free flowing passing game.
It was a Liverpool side a lot of fans have begged for, for so long. Maxi and Aquilani started in place of Kuyt and Lucas. We were so easy on the eye and the goals were inevitable. A double from Torres, one from Babel and Aquilani’s first (of many we hope) in a Liverpool shirt gave us the three points. Portsmouth grabbed a consolation goal to put a slight downer on the game but we were so good that even their goal couldn’t take the gloss off our performance.
Now the question is can we keep it up and overturn the 1-0 deficit in the Europa League tie when Lille come to Anfield?
Of course we could. We’re Liverpool Football Club and Anfield on a European night is like nowhere else in the world. We blew the French side away with another brace from Torres and our skipper opened the scoring within the first ten minutes.
The longer the game went on at just 2-0 on the night, the more nervous we seemed to get before Torres finally wrapped the tie up with a well taken goal.
It was his fourth in two games; hopefully he can keep it up when we take on United at the weekend.
As it was, Torres did keep up his goalscoring record when we went up to Old Trafford to face our fierce rivals Manchester United. Our number 9 opened the scoring with a fantastic header from a Dirk Kuyt cross before a very debatable penalty was given by official Howard Webb.
Although missing the penalty Rooney followed up to level the scores and during the second half Park headed home to give the hosts the lead. It finished 2-1 to United but the talking points were certainly more about Webb’s inability to officiate properly than anything else.
Can the ref be the least of our worries against Sunderland or will we once again be talking about bad decisions costing us?
In fact I think it was probably the easiest game of the season for any ref to officiate. Very few bad challenges and certainly no beach balls giving the ref a headache this time.
It was back to normal though for the Reds, a Torres double along with Glen Johnson’s third of the season meant three points in the bag for us.
The goals were slick and well taken and Torres’ opener was a contender for goal of the season. Sublime doesn’t even come close to describing it. But the most satisfying thing was the way in which we played all round, it was the best performance from a Liverpool side all season. Hopefully we’ll take that into April where our opening game will be the first leg of the quarter final against Benfica in the Europa League.
Overall the month picked up some momentum after starting slowly and ended with a fantastic performance at home to Sunderland. Now it’s time for the final few months of the season and that final surge for fourth and some silverware in the shape of the Europa League.
Torres’ form has been fantastic. He ended the month with seven goals, god how we missed him when he wasn’t fit. How the season could be different if he’d been firing right through it.
The performances against Portsmouth and Sunderland were also lifting, it gave me hope that there is a decent footballing side waiting to be let out the shackles.
Progression in Europe was another high for the month giving us still some hope of a trophy at the end of the season. Hamburg here we come.
The loss to United is never easy to take but it was the Wigan defeat that hurt most because of the lack of desire in the side. That Wigan defeat really was hard to swallow.
Other than that there hasn’t been too many lows, we’ve been pretty solid throughout the month giving us a springboard for the final push.