This one was almost a Boxing Day disaster. After a whirlwind start that saw Fernando Torres deftly placing a left-footed shot into the far side of goal, Liverpool seemed to get hexed and dropped their their intensity level. The result was a shoddy defensive play that allowed McEveley an almost-uncontested shot into goal from just a few yards out to equalize with about 20 minutes left.
Luckily, Liverpool found their form again in the waning moments, courtesy of … you guessed it, Stevie Gerrard. A mad dash up the left side, a deft touch or two, a pitiful clearance from Derby, and Gerrard slams home the winner in extra time, saving the Merseyside faithful from the wrong side of strong drink.
Consistency was not our strong suit today. I agree with the commentators that feel that Mascherano’s absence really prevents Gerrard from roaming clear and creating opportunities. But Torres? Pure class. Worth every penny.