“You can look at it as a manager and say ‘we could have done this or that better’ or you can look at it as a football fan and say ‘What the f*** was that then? Unbelievable…’” – Jurgen Klopp, January 14th 2018
Honestly, what more can you say about a match like this? Unbelievable! It was the type of performance that we knew the Reds were capable of but at the same time we remained just about skeptical enough to think that it probably wouldn’t happen… but it did in a manner even more brilliant than anyone could ever have foreseen.
Echoing the sentiments of Jurgen Klopp, it is a day when it is hard to look at what we learnt, and what could have been better. The unbridled joy just makes the whole concept of critical analysis a very tough task. Of course as always what we can learn from a performance such as this one is that many positives emerged especially in areas that many never expected they would. What can we take then from this streak shattering encounter?
We’ve Got Salah… Ohhh Mané Mané, and Bobby Firminooooo
This week will be forever remembered as not only the one where we ended Manchester City’s long unbeaten run, or when Phil Coutinho left, but also as the week we were introduced to one of the catchiest songs of all time. How fitting it was that all the members of the now Fab Three played a huge role in sealing this vital win. Coutinho is a special talent but we have demonstrated on many occasions that the team has always been so much more than just him.
The trio have such diverse talents that they must be an absolute nightmare to play against. Firmino is quietly having one of the best seasons in recent memory. Unlike many of the more traditional number nines in the league, he contributes mightily to the team effort even when he’s not scoring and the fact that he’s finding the back of the net in such volume this year makes him downright frightening for opposing sides. Sadio Mané has had his critics at times this season but it is easy to forget that he was plagued for a long stretch by a hamstring injury picked up while on Senegal duty. He looks back to his very best of late.
Mo Salah… well I think we know how good he has been. The Fab Three are an absolute joy to watch.
Robertson and Oxlade-Chamberlain
A few of us quietly campaigned for the inclusion of Andy Robertson long before the injury to Alberto Moreno. This was not a slight against the rejuvenated Moreno but more a show of confidence in the ability that Robbo has. Yesterday was about as emphatic a statement as we have seen in years that a player has the quality and the desire to make something of himself at Liverpool. What a bargain he is proving to be. There aren’t many still laughing that we signed a full back from Hull that is for sure. Talent is hidden all over the world, being a snob to look down at where a player played previously rarely makes sense. Keep it up Robertson!
And even more laughed at Liverpool splashing 35 million pounds to acquire the services of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the summer. It was thought he was an Arsenal reject, or a player we did not need, or quite simply put a waste of money. It was evident though before he even played a game that Chamberlain was going to have a better opportunity to succeed at Liverpool than he ever did at Arsenal. Firstly, his versatility was always going to come in handy and secondly we only have to look at how Adam Lallana has thrived under Klopp to see how a player like Chamberlain has a strong possibility of following a similar path. To top it off, his attitude has been first class throughout. 35 million may end up looking like a bargain, perhaps it already does. That goal and his overall performance yesterday were just first class.
The much maligned Dejan Lovren has been a man on an upward trajectory since his nightmare at Wembley. He will probably never get the credit he deserves for what he brings to the table but it was very satisfying to see him rewarded with the captain’s armband for such a massive fixture. Commitment to the cause has never been an issue for Lovren and now he’s found his confidence again he is a player with many qualities that clearly come in handy for this team. He has been a huge part of this unbeaten streak and he may never get the credit he deserves from most but I certainly have noticed.
There was ample fear and trepidation when it was announced that Virgil van Dijk would not be fit for the Super Sunday clash but Lovren and Joel Matip stepped in to prove what they are capable of. Neither were perfect but when facing an attack like Manchester City’s, perfection isn’t really a realistic target. It was a war and both centre halves came ready for the fight and certainly outplayed their more vaunted and expensive opposite numbers.
Can he Karius to Victory? (part 2)
Well once again the obvious answer is yes he can. However, it is clear still that Karius still isn’t quite ready to be Liverpool’s reliable number 1. The question is starting to linger… will he ever be up to the task? It seems less and less likely. Simon Mignolet may not be everyone’s cup of tea but in this present moment in time, he is a far, far better option in goal than Loris Karius.
It was a day that won’t soon be forgotten. We watch football religiously waiting for moments like this one. There has been a long wait without silverware for this club, but matches like this prove that while the drought may soon be ending, sometimes it is the process along the way which is more fun than we often stop to savour. Enjoy the week Reds!