Luis the right player at the right time

Luis Garcia was delighted to make a return to action for the Reds on Tuesday night, even more so because he got the winner against Arsenal. Luis has been struggling with a knee injury since the turn of the year and said: “It’s good to be back. I had been feeling pain in my left knee for about two months but continued to play because it didn’t feel like a bad injury. After the game at Bolton in January when I scored in the 2-2 draw, it was decided to treat the injury because we only had one game a week, which gave me a little more time to recover.”

Garcia had only just entered the field when he scored, but hopes to be playing a full game again soon: “When I came back for the Birmingham game I played 90 minutes, but still felt a bit of pain in the knee. Since then I have been doing extra work in the gym and am training again.”

Luis was praised by team-mate John Arne Riise who himself came close more than once to winning the game for Liverpool. Riise said: “We know when the subs come on they’ve got to be ready to show something. Luis has been away with injury but he’s come on and won it for us. I think it was important for Luis to get a goal to show he’s back. He’s someone who can miss chances but then pop up with the important goal. That’s the type of player he is.”

Garcia’s undoubtedly an excellent player, but he seems yet to find his
ideal position in the team. For Riise though that doesn’t matter
because Garcia knows where to be and when, regardless of which position
he starts in: “He is an intelligent player who knows where he needs to
be and knows how to score goals. That’s the kind of player every team
needs. He tries things. When it doesn’t work, maybe people are not
happy about it, but that’s his game.”

Riise says the Reds deserved the three points: “Obviously we are really
happy because we deserved to win the game. We dominated the first half
and we should have had more goals. It just goes to prove if you keep
going for 90 minutes the goal can come at the end. When it does come
late and you win, it’s even better.”
 
Unfortunately for Liverpool that philosophy worked against them when
they played Manchester United at Old Trafford last month. Liverpool
were by most accounts the more dominant of the two sides that day, yet
United got the points with a Rio Ferdinand winner right at the end. Now
Liverpool meet up with United again on Saturday, this time at Anfield,
this time in the FA Cup 5th round. Riise was asked if the Reds were
ready to exact payback on the Red Devils: “It’s not payback, but we
didn’t deserve to lose over there and now we’re looking forward to
playing them at our place. We want to go to the final, so to do that
we’ll have to beat them.”

Riise is confident that the recent blip in form has come to an end now:
“With two wins out of two, two clean sheets and some excellent football
against an Arsenal team we outplayed, I think we’re definitely back in
business.”