31 October 2007

Mascherano typifies the Anfield spirit

Just don't break Lampard's leg. England need him to qualify in euro 2008....

by Ian Rush, Liverpool Echo

INJURIES have always been part and parcel of the game and there were times when I was playing for Liverpool that we had several players out with one kind of knock or another.
But I can’t think of a time when one team has suffered so many fractures in such a short space of time.
First, it was Steven Gerrard. Next it was Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger ruled out at the same time with a fractured metatarsal.
Then Jermaine Pennant suffered a stress fracture of the shin and, while Rafa Benitez was only just coming to terms with that, Alonso suffered a relapse against Arsenal on Sunday.
Benitez must be wondering what he’s done to deserve so much bad luck.
But the one good thing he can take out of it is the character his players are showing. This was typified by Javier Mascherano, who remained on the pitch against the Gunners when he was clearly injured.
It would have been easy for him to look at the bench and ask to come off because he was clearly in a lot of pain. But Mascherano simply rolled his sleeves up and got on with it.
That is the kind of thing that builds team spirit and togetherness.
When you know everyone is prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder and not give in no matter what is going against you it gives you a great feeling as a team.
And you could see the strength of Liverpool’s team spirit against Arsenal because they stuck together and fought and battled from the first minute to the last.
Arsenal will beat almost every team in the Premiership if they play like they did at Anfield on Sunday. Their passing and movement were fantastic and there are few sides in world football who will live with them when they play like that.
But Liverpool managed to get a point and could even have won it, and that was simply because they showed grit, determination and plenty of team spirit.
Even though Arsenal had a lot of the ball, Liverpool were never out of the game and the battling from the likes of Gerrard, Mascherano and Jamie Carragher was wonderful.
Their never say die attitude spread throughout the team and meant Arsenal were not able to have things their own way.
The injuries Liverpool suffered are obviously a big blow but if they carry on displaying the same kind of character for the rest of the season they won’t go far wrong.

Superb Gerrard is untouchable on this form
RAFA BENITEZ has been talking about how Steven Gerrard has been getting back to his best recently and I think we all saw the evidence of that against Arsenal. Gerrard was outstanding. When he was on the ball he was a major threat. When he didn’t have it he tackled like his life depended on it. He scored a wonderful goal and he led from the front. It was the same against Besiktas last week and Steven carried that form into the Arsenal game. If he carries on like that then it will be a massive boost to Liverpool because when he is on top of his game it is hard to think of any other midfielders who can live with him.

Anfield legend Fowler can expect warm Kop welcome
I’VE got no doubt that Robbie Fowler will be given a wonderful reception when he returns to Anfield with Cardiff tomorrow night. Robbie was a wonderful servant of Liverpool Football Club over two spells and I know how much the fans still love him. I can remember coming back to play at Anfield in Alan Hansen’s testimonial in 1988 when I was a Juventus player and the way the fans treated me was fantastic. I scored a hat-trick and the Kop were chanting for me to be signed up and the affection they showed me that night was one of the main reasons why I ended up signing for Liverpool again shortly after. Even when I came back with Leeds United I was still given a wonderful reception. I was substitute that day and I can remember warming up on the touchline and the Kop were singing my name. It’s great to be remembered like that and I’m sure it will be exactly the same for Robbie tomorrow because he is a Liverpool legend.

Crouch has given perfect lift to his recall chances
PETER CROUCH did his chances of earning a recall to the starting line-up the world of good with his substitute appearance against Arsenal. It is easy to sulk when you’re not being picked, but the manager is looking for you to take your chance when one comes your way and I felt Peter did that on Sunday. As soon as he came on he looked a genuine threat and only a fantastic save by Almunia stopped Peter from scoring. I’m sure the way he played has put Peter in contention for a return to the team against Blackburn on Saturday and it also sends out a message to those players who will be involved against Cardiff tomorrow. If you get your chance you have to be ready and then if you do impress the manager you will give him a selection headache.

No comments:



The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish

The GOLDEN Team of Kenny Daglish
If we have them now, say farewell to Arsenal, Man.U and Chelsea... if...