The pressure was on Liverpool yesterday. After the wins against Real Madrid and Manchester United, questions were being asked as to whether they would blow the opportunity, to close the gap on the league leaders.
Well, the Reds answered these questions emphatically. Not only putting five past Villa, but playing with a clarity and sense of purpose, that informs us that this is a team oozing with confidence and self-belief.
That confidence reveals itself in the energy and dynamic of the team. The way each player understands their roles. How the team patterns weave together. The ability to make the right decisions, at the right time.
And, its surely no coincidence, that these levels of confidence, should come at a time, when Rafael Benitez commits himself to the club, for the next period of time. Performances on the pitch are a reflection of settlement, off the pitch.
It has taken a long time for Liverpool to find this balance. Now they they have, can they finally push on, and try to dominate English and European football, as they did in the eighties? It’s in their DNA. The supporters want it.
The question is, has Rafael Benitez the inner courage, to cast aside some of his natural caution and fear, liberate his players, and allow them to express themselves, in the manner of a dominant team?