A Liverpool side without Steven Gerrard that wins 5-0 away from home against a side that is aiming for the same kind of season as Liverpool, in the form of qualifying for the Champions League, seemed almost unthinkable.
The central midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva who played yesterday completely outshone Spurs. Henderson put in a man of the match performance for the Reds. He was threatening going forward and his distribution was exemplary.
Lucas Leiva and Joe Allen showed a lot of steel in the middle whilst the latter of the duo was keen to bomb on and get involved in the attack, particularly in the first half, whilst both of them were keen to ensure every pass they made found a red shirt.
There are those who are keen to write off Liverpool without their talismanic captain, but those three midfielders have shown there is a side that is capable of taking on good opposition – and the other positive was the introduction of Luis Alberto resulted in the young Spaniard notching up an assist following Luis Suarez’s classy finish for Liverpool’s fourth.
Gerrard, you feel is still needed. As good as Liverpool were, Gerrard has shown he still has something about him this season with his set-piece ability and distribution – Henderson stepped up markedly having been allowed to tuck inside to into a more natural position to the latter of aspect.
For the next few years Liverpool’s midfield looks taken care of, but one thing we haven’t seen is the need for drive yet without Gerrard this season, which will be a real test for Liverpool – against side who perhaps might stick ten men behind the ball where the captain could come up with a nicely delivered pass or set-piece, plus the odd long range effort.
Some critics will have said that at times this season Gerrard has looked a passenger in his deeper role and that Henderson inside with Coutinho and Sterling operating on the flanks allows a Liverpool side to look more balanced.
The encouraging thing is, Gerrard is going to be around whilst these players are still growing into their best years of their career, as a unit.
Some will say Liverpool could do with another fielder with that bit more bite, maybe they had that in Allen, but whilst that part of the side is growing, Gerrard is still going to be around. Whilst yesterday may be a look to the future for Liverpool, their captain is there to oversee it.
image: © ruairadhG