It may have been the Theatre of Dreams, but even when the Liechtenstein players
It may have been the Theatre of Dreams, but even when the Liechtenstein players were tucked up in bed last night, images of a victory over England would never have seriously figured in their minds. They would have known that they had to face one player who was able to turn their visit into a nightmare....Before the match however, the yellow cards that were hanging dangerously over the heads of David Beckham and Steven Gerrard threatened to make the month leading up to England's visit to Turkey one full of sleepless nights.
It could have been easy to have left the pair out, but these two crusaders never gave it a moment's thought. They know their importance to England's cause, no matter who they are up against, and so does the country.
Beckham hit the winner in Macedonia on Saturday, so tonight was the night for the Liverpool man to underline his value to the International side. He's never been beaten wearing an England shirt and he was not going to let it happen tonight.
To be honest, Liechtenstein didn't look like ending the record, but at half-time and the scores level at 0-0, the thought of two points dropped could have started to creep into the minds of England's followers. But Gerrard was thinking nothing of the sort.
Up to that stage, he was doing a very neat job in the heart of the midfield trio. With Beckham and Lampard on the attack, the 22-year old protected his back four extremely well, but only occasionally advanced forward. His reluctance to go to ground and avoid a caution combined with the fact that his defensive attributes were rarely called upon, meant that his influence could have been directed elsewhere.
A minute into the second-half it was. Attacking down the right, Gerrard sent in a dangerous cross, picking out his Anfield team mate Michael Owen, and his header gave England the lead they'd for so long been threatening. A huge cheer was followed by sighs of relief all around.
Steven Gerrard had once again supplied the spark that Liverpool fans have been aware of ever since he burst onto the scene, and England followers are beginning to appreciate.
But he wasn't finished there. One more assist - guiding Beckham's cross into the pass of Rooney - helped England to a second goal inside seven second-half minutes and secured Gerrard a record that reads thus: Played 20, won 16, drawn 4, lost 0.
And as he was replaced by Phil Neville with nearly an hour gone, he may have even muttered words similar to those of Harvey Keitel's Mr White in Reservoir Dogs: "You even dream about beating me, you better wake up and apologise."
From Jamie Bradbury at Old Trafford