If against Bolton on Boxing Day Liverpool was sublime, today against Newcastle for the last game of the year, we were stupendous to say the least.
With the empthatic 5-1 win, LFC made a few statements. That we are still at the top of the league after the energy-sapping games over the Christmas period. And that we did it after Rafa, yet again, tinkered with the squad. Call it whatever you want -- rotation system, Rafa's hardheadedness, etc but I can see Rafa smiling gleefully with both middle fingers upwards (not that he would actually do this) towards the so-called expert pundits.
Against Bolton, he utilised the wide players to perfection which of course benefited Keane who went and scored two goals. Players like Insua and Lucas played like true pros and with the introduction of Alonso displayed how lethal our forwards could be. Rafa tinkered with the back four too with Carra playing as rightback. Such was our domination in that game that we saw the defence having a field day upfront, even with the old Hyypia and Carra joining the attacks as they wished. And we could also afford to take out and rest Gerrard for today's game.
Just as everyone thought this formation would again be used in the game against Newcastle today, Rafa did the unthinkable. No Keane who scored two goals on Boxing Day in the starting lineup (his looks on the bench today again showed how confused he is). Nor was Reira, who played sublimely on the left and scored the first goal in the same game, played. Kuyt played upfront alone (oh no, the headless chicken) with Gerrard behind him and, (goodness us) Lucas and Mascha in the middle.
Lucas showed how he is coming to age with a fine display attacking, with defence-splitting and long passes that we don't normally see him convert before. Insua was terrific. Carra showed yet again how potent he could still be in the position at the rightback which he started his career at. And Gerrard again showed how damaging he could be if given the freedom to roam upfront with two goals. And he was again rested much early before the game ended.
If we had lost or drawn this game, the pundits would have had their day of course. But we won, proving yet again why Rafa is the best there is. We finished unbeaten at home in 2008 and are still in contention for the elusive 19th title (some might argue our 21st and why not?).
To all the pundits out there, please bow down to Rafa now. Frankly, he knows much much more than what you all do.