I enjoyed yesterday, a lot. Not just because we put our best performance in for weeks, not just because we've now given ourselves a great chance of actually being able to spend some money in the Summer, but because finally, belatedly, we appear to have arrived at a potential solution to bus parkers. Whether it was Buvak the brain who thought it up, whether it was Jürgen, one of his analysts or whether someone had a word in his shell-like and said "read the LFC Reds forum FFS" matters not a jot, we've gotten there in the end and the future looks a lot brighter.
Lets look at the alterations and how they panned out:
1. Playing a proper striker. I've put this one first simply because it's been the one most people have been banging on about for longest. Danny Sturridge is a PROPER striker, the only one in our squad arguably, and man did it show? Yes he doesn't run around a lot, I'm afraid he doesn't put lots of slide tackles in nor will he ever get into double figures in the "sprints for no discernible reason" table, but what he does do he's pretty good at. Having been told for long enough now that he hasn't the pace to run in behind anymore, it was heartening to see him run in behind for half the length of the pitch for the first goal. No surprise that when he got there he finished, as proper strikers do that. See running in behind isn't just about pace (which Sturridge undoubtedly has less of these days) it's also about instinct, anticipation, subtlety, desire. Without the last four (which Danny has in buckets) the first one ain't a lot of chop to you. Otherwise Man Utd would have signed Usain Bolt long ago, which sadly they didn't.
So what does a proper striker give you? Well a kill or be killed desire to score a goal at all costs in the main thing. It was a surprise to see Sturridge miskick from four yards out when the ball ricoched to him in the second half, but it wasn't a surprise that he was there, ready to knock it in. Neither was it a surprise that he bust a gut on many occasions getting in front of his man and open in the box, the ball didn't come but it will, that's what proper strikers do. It wasn't a surprise that he frustrated on occasions by always taking the shot on. Step over, shift it, hit it, that's what proper strikers do. And it wasn't a surprise that as a team we looked massively more potent, proper strikers do that.
Lets be clear here, Sturridge isn't the answer longer term, or even medium term. He'll be gone at the end of the season and rightly so IMHO given his injury record. What his cameo did yesterday though surely is demonstrate once and for all that a PROPER striker or two in the squad is a must, and having one on the pitch if fit equally a given. Neither Firmino nor Origi are a PROPER striker in the Sturridge class, and it's imperative that we replace him with a bona fide alternative, then play that man regularly.
Sturridge was a breath of fresh air yesterday and part one of the solution to the parked bus emerging from the fog. I'll do the others later or it'll be a book.