By Jonathan Gold
If there had been a way, this weekend, for referee Phil Dowd to use big wooden paddles painted red and yellow to dish out whacks on the ass instead of simply brandishing red and yellow paper cards, I’d have been all for it. Some of the behavior from both sides during Manchester United’s visit to Anfield was reprehensible and detracted unfairly from a great game.
How completely have Liverpool been transformed after the departure of Roy Hodgson? This was a team so mired in misery that the fans wanted Rafa Benitez back, poor demented souls. Contrast any of the abject results from earlier this season – I’m sure Kevin remembers them all – with the bright, authoritative performance in front of a rapturous home crowd this weekend.
OK, none of Dirk Kuyt’s three goals was exactly spectacular where he was concerned – but there were moments of genius in the build-up play, mostly from Luis Suarez, noted World Cup villain. His weaving dribble up the byline was electrifying to set up the first, and he produced a nice free kick that van der Saar couldn’t hold onto for the third. That said, the term “poacher’s instinct” is overused, but that’s exactly what he displayed to grab an unlikely hat-trick.