Monday, 20 September 2010

Berbatov was brilliant - but so was Gerrard

Smoked Bulgarian Cheese, please.
Manchester United's 3-2 win over Liverpool will be remembered for Dimitar Berbatov's hat-trick. The brilliant Bulgarian's shaken off whatever was bothering him at Old Trafford - and produced a performance worthy of his considerable talent.

But amid the fog of Liverpool's latest defeat, it's worth highlighting The Steven Gerrard Show. He turned in yet another captain's performance at Old Trafford. With typical one-man resilience, he struck twice to level the game when the Reds looked down and out at 2-nil down.

His free-kick to equalise at 2-all was particularly brilliant. Finding the only space available in the United wall to expertly place the ball past the unsighted Edwin Van der Sar.

Gerrard's love affair with Old Trafford. Sealed with a x.
It's a pity the Scouse warrior had to end up on the losing side but as his performance confirmed, he's playing the football of his life once more.

Soccermongery was critical of Steven Gerrard last season.  He looked off the pace and bothered by off-field problems. Now he's consigned those to the past and despite the ill winds of change swirling around Anfield, Liverpool can still reply on their talisman to deliver.

Not only is Gerrard turning in quality club performances, he's delivering for England too. Appointed captain because of the John Terry scandal and set free in midfield by the international absence of Frank Lampard, Gerrard keeps on playing himself into the lead role whoever he plays for.

It must be disspiriting for Gerrard to be playing at a club who can't arrest a decline which started in Rafa Benitez' last season in charge. I'm sure not even the most stringent Anfield loyalist would begrudge him leaving for pastures new (as long as it was abroad!)

Berbatov is also enjoying the limelight. Capitalising on wayward Wayne Rooney, the Bulgar can get on with his United career on a new footing. Don't be surprised if he outscores Wazza in United colours this season.

But Gerrard is too. To Liverpool and England, his contribution is priceless.