Last year, before the crowd got on Bobby Zamora’s back, Zoltan Gera was the fall guy. The Hungarian certainly didn’t produce his best form early in his Fulham career and looked devoid of confidence long before Clint Dempsey replaced him in the side.
There’s no doubt that Gera has the ability to play at this level and we’ve seen what he can do this season. He was excellent off the bench against Arsenal and really good at West Ham too. With that in mind, I was excited to see how he’d go against a Liverpool side who had contained us largely in the first half when he came on at half-time.
Perhaps we can’t laud Roy’s decision-making too much because it was an enforced change but Gera had much more of an impact on the game than Damien Duff, even if the Irish winger did make Bobby Zamora’s goal (although listening to Tony Gale on Sky last night claim it was a shot did nearly make me drop my dinner on the floor). Perhaps that was because we played a much more expansive game after the break with the score at 1-1 or down to the gaps that we were able to exploit as Liverpool pushed up.
The chalkboards show this quite clearly. Look at the number of forward passes that Gera played – almost double Duff’s – and his success rate was impressive. It was Gera’s through ball that Zamora raced onto before he was pulled down in the box by Carragher. The analysts seem to have missed Gera’s most telling contribution: his clever header back across goal for the crucial second (perhaps because it was a header?).