Flashback: March 14, 2009
A famous win and a simple gesture that said a lot.
There are times when a player and his club feel like a match made in heaven; times when a player feels like an eternal part of its future; times when a player seems so attuned to the history of the club, he feels like one of their own. Fernando Torres and Liverpool is one such pair.
Ever since ‘El Nino’ signed for Liverpool and left Ben Haim for dead to open his Anfield account, he had endeared himself to the fans and had become an instant hit in the red half of merseyside. His presence and his goals were a major reason why the level of anticipation in Liverpool had risen following their wonderful start to the 2008-09 season.
Come March though, the reds visited Old Trafford seven points behind the champions and on the verge of being discarded from the title race again. The pesky pundits were already cleaning their trumpets to label this another one of those pseudo-threatening seasons. A season in which, the club from merseyside, seesawed every week from being considered genuine title contenders to a side that was just a part of the permutations of the ‘big four’.
Liverpool were in great form and they needed a win and nothing less to stay in the title race. The last time a Liverpool player had scored a goal at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ was six seasons ago. So, when Ronaldo put Fergie’s side ahead from the penalty spot, there was a feeling of ‘same-old same-old’ all the way along the Mersey to Manchester.
That’s when Vidic decided to let an aimless long-ball bounce before him. Like a predator sensing his prey’s hesitancy and fear, Torres quickly saw the opportunity, pounced on the ball, left Vidic on the floor and coolly slotted home past Van Der Sar. It marked the beginning of the red revival that soon turned into the greatest victory over their North-West rivals.
But it wasn’t just the 1-4 scoreline that stood out on the day; Torres’ post-goal celebration did as well. In his moment of personal glory, he did not forget what it meant to his club. Unlike Gary Neville’s classless self-deprecating antics in front of the opposition supporters three seasons ago, Torres’ five-finger gesture was an elegant reminder of the great history of this famous football club and a show of confidence and class both, on and off the field. Five fingers he held up to the Mancs – Rome’77, London’78, Paris’81, Rome’84 and Istanbul’05.
It was a day when the lad from Madrid confirmed his place forever in Liverpool folklore. A day when the Liverpool supporters felt Fernando Torres was one of their own all along….