How is it that a striker can exude class for 25 seconds and then noxious gases for 89 and a half minutes? Ian Rush said it best when he was quoted as saying: "it’s best being a striker. If you miss five then score the winner, you’re a hero." That is Fernando Torres to a tee.
He’s scored 15 goals in a Liverpool jersey this season in all competitions and his silky-smooth goal against Derby on Boxing Day was sublime. And then he disappeared. Again.
Torres is probably best described as a mixture of equal parts brilliance and shite. He’ll ghost around world-class defenders and score from an angle that Lobachevsky couldn’t explain, and then he’ll unwrap the bow on a gift in front of net and hang himself from the cross bar with it.
If I had any hair, I would’ve pulled the lot of it out watching El Nino play. But then again there is a certain morbid symmetry in watching a train wreck unfold. You daren’t look away.
And onto business. Tomorrow will be a real test of Liverpool’s character, especially coming off a performance that the Greek philosopher Mediocrates would dub as “lackluster.” They will not be keen to squander another chance to pick up some points as Man U stumbled today. Problem is the other team from the worst city in Europe is standing in their way. And in Manchester.
With the infusion of ill-gotten gains and a world class manager, City are doing the business this year. They already have one big scalp in their cross-town rivals and, only one point adrift, they are yipping at the Red’s heels for a top four spot. Rafa will not be taking this one lightly. Mind you, I don’t think he knows the meaning of word in Spanish never mind English.
He does have some bad news ahead of the game, too. Looks like Big Sami might be out tomorrow. Apparently Daniel Agger is back under consideration. Not the swiftest move, if you ask me. Not only is he not match fit (having been out since September), but he’s wearing a “specially made boot” which indicates to me – and all other less-than-savoury characters that will be lining up to stamp on said foot – that he’s still potentially carrying around the injury that kept him out.
The idea of putting Alvaro Arbeloa in central defense has been batted around. Honestly, it makes my tongue itch. Ever tried to scratch your tongue? Exactly. Even when you get it right, it still doesn’t feel just right.
Young Master Hobbs seems like the obvious choice. He’s young, a bit wet behind the ears, but he’s proven he can play with the big boys and with Jamie right behind him, I think he’ll be okay. Plus, he’s a local lad which is always good for business at Anfield.
Crouchie’s still worried about exiting Liverpool if you listen to his most recent bleatings. It really makes you wonder exactly what is going on in the dressing room when the manager is vehemently denying a player’s availability for mid-season transfer and then the same player reaffirming his desire not to see different footballing climes.
If you were off the planet today, you might have missed the saddening news that Man U lost to West Ham. Deeply disappointing stuff. Deeply, deeply disappointing stuff. And this was after me denigrating what I perceived to be false humility on SAF’s behalf. Shame on me.
And this leads me to my next point. You won’t catch me making a prediction this time. I’m about 0-and-a-terrabyte right now. In fact, for the three of you that read this, should I ever take another stab at being Nostradamus, put a hundred on the exact anti-thesis of my prognostications.
As a postscript we should all offer our sympathies and best wishes to the family of Motherwell Captain, Phil O’Donnell, who collapsed and died today while playing against Dundee in the Scottish Premier League.
God speed, Phil.