Tommy G runs show to upstage Stevie G

Midfield maestros coveted by their fans and by rivals catch the eye
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When Steven Gerrard comes to publish his autobiography (but then, as he's 24 he probably has three out already), the last seven days might very well warrant their own chapter.

When Steven Gerrard comes to publish his autobiography (but then, as he's 24 he probably has three out already), the last seven days might very well warrant their own chapter.

In it, the young man from Whiston will tell of the shock that greeted his ultimatum last Monday that unless Liverpool started looking like winning trophies he would have little choice but to move to a club that did. He might reflect on the headscratching that accompanied his declaration that went something along the lines of: "I don't understand, Stevie. As our best player, aren't you supposed to be winning us those trophies?"

And then, as the skies were at their blackest over the red side of Stanley Park, he will doubtless move on to the night when he suddenly switched the fairylights around the broken Liverpool hearts back on again with a thunderbolt that crackled through generations to remind of European adventures long gone by. "I was going nowhere after Olympiakos," he will tell the reader, "I was King among my people. We were venturing on crusades together."

Alas, we all know how the chapter is likely to finish now after yesterday. For this result spoke louder than any rubles could from west London or even any euros could from the Spanish capital. This humbling in the backyard next to their backyard was a statement of how far Rafael Benitez must travel before Liverpool can claim to be lords in their own manor, let alone the country. And it must be seriously doubted whether the player who drives them hardest will be along for a trip that promises to be as lengthy as it is daunting.

Not to say that there is any shame in losing at Goodison in these strange days. On this form, better sides than Liverpool will find themselves outmuscled, out-thought but most of all out-hungered when they dare step up the Priory Road. That old devil called money will cruelly rule out any long-lasting glory - as will David Moyes's inevitable headhunting to richer climes - but for this season at any rate, thoughts of tomorrow can be put firmly to one side.

Today they will bask in being 12 points clear of their city rivals and begin to believe that for the first time since Neville Southall was in ill-fitting shorts, way back in 1987, they can finish above Liverpool. It may still be early days in the race, but the tortoise is a distance clear and the hare hasn't even had its nap yet.

But it wouldn't be modern football and they wouldn't be Scousers if some doubt didn't cross their disbelieving, cynical minds. Their biggest concern will be how they can possibly hang on to their own midfield maestro, Thomas Gravesen, who has been the subject of intense interest from clubs on the Continent and who was man of the match in many notebooks yesterday.

For as Gerrard was doing his usual Saturday best, playing more upfield than ever as the odd man out in Benitez's 4-2-3-1 formation, pinging balls that scraped paintwork and conjuring mazy runs that took him deep into Toffee territory, Gravesen was running the show from a far more influential position.

There is nothing this fearsome Dane does not have in his armoury, except perhaps the extra half-yard of pace, but he more than makes up for that with an awareness and sense of anticipation that can only be heaven sent.

Of course, it was the straight man of Everton's renowned "Bruise Brothers" who was to steal the credit. But by then Gravesen, the Belushi to Lee Carsley's Ackroyd, had already played a set that had the Liverpool midfield dancing around their handbags. "This win showed the team have come far," he said with trademark brevity. "Everybody is together at this club at the moment."

The "at the moment" was ominous for any Evertonian listening in , but for the time being at least it was still Tommy G who was conducting a Mersey beat that has taken the Premiership's supposed one-hit wonders to No 2 in the most demanding chart of all.

Stevie G, meanwhile, was preparing to release a final number that has gathered far too much dust already on the Liverpool turntables. "Love Me Do," he had asked them on Wednesday. "Hello, Goodbye," might have been more like it.

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