As so often before, Steven Gerrard read the script, tore it up and re-wrote it in his own words. Liverpool were trailing 1-0 at half-time, whence he came on as a replacement for the ineffectual Milan Jovanovic. The game simmered before Gerrard brought the game to the boil in a fantastic 15 minute display. His hat-trick turned potential defeat into three points and a likely qualification to the last 32 of the Europa League.
His first, the equaliser, capitalised on a dreadful back-pass by former Liverpool teammate Andrea Dossena, beating Morgan de Sanctis to the loose ball to nudge home. With just two minutes remaining, he notched from the penalty spot. One minute later the match was sealed as Gerrard latched on to a Lucas pass before sublimely chipping de Sanctis in the Napoli goal.
“Stevie G greatest ever”.
Following his teammate’s 15-minute hat-trick to lead Liverpool to victory over Napoli on Thursday evening, Jamie Carragher felt compelled to label Steven Gerrard as Liverpool’s greatest ever player. “Stevie is just an unbelievable talent, we all know that,” he told The Guardian. “We have seen him do things like he did last night time and again during his career.”
The goals, which put Liverpool on the verge of qualification from the Europa League group stages, were proof if proof be needed that Gerrard is, “the best player the club has ever had and the most influential player ever in the Premier League.”
Cech taunts Reds.
With Napoli soundly negotiated, attention turns to Chelsea’s trip to Anfield on Sunday. In years past when Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez locked tactical horns on the touchlines, a simmering rivalry between the two clubs brewed. Petr Cech’s comments in the Daily Telegraph shows that, despite the two managers being consigned to the history books, the resentment still exists.
“If they really want to show that they want to compete for finishing in the top four then they need to start winning games and winning games against the strong teams,” Cech taunted. “We are top of the league and we want to be top of the league after the game,” he said, signalling Chelsea’s intent to quell Liverpool’s recent mini-revival.
However, he did have words of praise for Liverpool, saying that he expected their fortunes to change soon. “They still have a very good squad and they still have the qualities to challenge for fourth,” he said.