The mighty Greek
Anfield in recent months has hardly been the stamping ground of heroes. The last year has been one of witnessing each and every one of liverpool’s most revered icons fall from grace.
Steven Gerrard, Merseyside’s Ajax, has at times seemed conquered by his own sorrow at the sight of the club he has devoted his life to begin to stutter and stumble. fernando Torres, formerly every inch an Achilles, has found his legs peppered with weaknesses, his fallibility evident to all. The suspicion lingers that Jamie Carragher, like nestor, is too old to engage in combat.
One man, though, has transcended the wreckage of 12 months of despair and doubt to emerge with his reputation not only intact but enhanced. That man is Sotirios Kyrgiakos ( pic). Hence the sequence of rather unnecessary iliadic parallels.
To recap: when Kyrgiakos set sail for Merseyside, that fabled land of demigods, from AeK Athens, he did so as the nominal replacement for Sami Hyypia. Kyrgiakos, on the other hand, had failed at Rangers, endured a torrid time at eintracht frankfurt and retreated to the shadow of the Acropolis, seemingly content to play out his career in his homeland. There might have been a case to make him a £1.5mil backup, a last resort, as Benitez apparently intended him to be.
His initial skirmishes hardly suggested a future replete with glory. He was at fault for both Bolton goals when Benitez’s side won 3-2 at the Reebok a year ago, while it was his slip which allowed lisandro lopez to all but eliminate liverpool from the Champions league in lyon last november.
liverpool fans, presumably, hoped that would be the end of him. Kyrgiakos, though, is made of sterner stuff. He persevered. He became a cult hero for his unstinting commitment, his refusal to wilt, his effort and his enthusiasm, whatever his lack of natural ability.
not in the sense that all of his team-mates must aspire to his level of talent, of course. Kyrgiakos is, by all traditional measurements, the worst player at liverpool (which, given that some of those team-mates are Ryan Babel, Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen, is some accolade). His first touch is poor, his pace absent, his ability to retain possession rudimentary.
And yet it would be easy to make a case for him being liverpool’s best player since that night in lyon. Almost alone among his outfield team-mates, whenever Kyrgiakos plays, he does his job. He is employed to win headers. So he does. in both boxes. He is tasked with making hefty challenges, of clearing the area in front of Pepe Reina of danger. So he does. His abilities are not glamorous, they are not likely to inspire YouTube compilations or paeans of praise from observers, but he is what he is. in a team where so many are not what they were or so far from what they could be, he stands alone, never shirking or stinting, as liverpool’s unlikely Olympian. – © The daily Telegraph UK 2010