Over the last few weeks, I've gone through the stages of grief, denial, depression, anger, bargaining, and finally acceptance. One of the first things to hit me in the final stage has been the simple inability to be the Liverpool we've all become familiar with. 1-0 up against Lyon, and you'd expect a Rafa Benitez Liverpool to suffocate the opposition and get the win. Usually we look at our most comfortable when we are required to stifle and oppose, but this season we've looked our best when we've been in the final third. Against Stoke we were the exact opposite of the Liverpool of last season, not calm and probing, and definitely not reserved.
I suppose this might just be naive optimism but this period could be the death of the old Liverpool, one of defensive confidence and mechanical deconstruction, and into a dynamic and lethal Liverpool. The one where confidence was not in our ability to stifle the opposition, but overrun them. Rafa, despite the petty arguments to the contrary , knows how to do this and his time at Valencia showed that the same tenacity applied to defense was applied two-fold in attack. Our squad, with Gerrard, Torres, Kuyt and Benayoun leading the way, can equal the destructive capabilities of that Valencia side. Still, I suppose like the birth metaphor, there is a maturation period. We may have to suffer a few defeats, the pesky slander of a few morons, but there's not better teacher then failure, and there is no better student of the game then our Rafa.