As Steven Gerrard netted from the spot to become Liverpool’s all-time penalty king during the 3-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, Jan Molby watched on with self-confessed mixed emotions.
The former Reds midfielder was on media duty at White Hart Lane, enjoying a prime viewing position to see the side’s No.8 successfully stroke home a spot-kick – his 43rd for the club.
Before Gerrard became a feared foe from 12 yards, Molby himself had previously held the record, but ‘the Great Dane’ takes solace from the fact that it was the captain reaching the milestone.
“A player like me wasn’t renowned for being a goalscorer so I never had too many records but it was nice to have held that for a while. In a way it was a little bit sad, but if a record is going to go and it’s gone to one of Liverpool’s all-time greatest ever players, then I can live with it. Steven has worked on penalties over the years and when he takes one now you always expect him to score. He strikes the ball really well and he puts the ball into the corners. He is an inspirational player for Liverpool and remains a big part of the team. In my opinion, there are not that many players left in football today that can lift one team. He can.”
Asked to describe the art of taking the perfect penalty, Molby assessed that each player will have his own individual style of seeking to beat the goalkeeper – not least his own approach. He continued:
“People have their own technique and how they want to approach a penalty. Some people make up their mind early and stick to that when they run up, but my style was slightly different. I believe there are three things that are important when you take a penalty, which is the ball, the goalkeeper and the goal. I used to wait for the goalkeeper to make his move and then put the ball the other way. If the goalkeeper didn’t move I would always try to put the ball low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right.”
For the second season running at White Hart Lane, Liverpool were clinical throughout and eased to victory via a strike by Raheem Sterling, Gerrard’s penalty and an Alberto Moreno stunner.