It was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from the Reds on Sunday, with Rafael Benitez’s men looking nothing like title pretenders in the first half at Eastlands. Liverpool were second best to a vibrant Manchester City team, and it was hard to see them coming back against a side which had scored six against Portsmouth in their previous home match. However, where there’s Torres, there’s a way.
It was an outstanding comeback from the Merseyside team, who continue to match Chelsea stride-for-stride at the top of the Premier League. It’s also significant that they are six points clear of Manchester United at this juncture, who are now starting to hit form after a difficult opening set of matches. The Guardian report that Rafael Benitez was clearly ecstatic to see his team pinch all three points thanks to a Dirk Kuyt stoppage time winner, and the Spaniard clearly has a twinkle in his eye right now.
“The reaction we showed in the second half was fantastic,” said Benítez, eyes sparkling. “The character, the determination. The thing our players showed is that they always believe. They went out in the second half believing they could win. It was a result that came from their mentality.”
Are Liverpool doing so well because Benitez is rotating the team less? It appears that he has a fairly strong idea of his best starting XI, with Keane, Alonso and Mascherano competing for two places depending on the team’s opponents. In defence, there is a fairly settled line-up, and the Reds could well be benefitting from this continuity.
So then, does this match mean that Liverpool can kick on and win the Premier League title, or does it still depend on how they perform against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United (away)? A result like this can only breed confidence, while they have arguably the best striker in Europe banging in the goals.