European Football - UEFA Europa League - Group Stage Group B - FC Rubin Kazan v Liverpool FCIT’S 10 minutes gone and only a crossbar and a tremendous piece of defending mean Liverpool aren’t deservedly 0-2 ahead. The extent to which Liverpool show themselves superior in the first 10 minutes of the game is quite remarkable. Liverpool away from home are vastly superior to the competition.

This dominance continues, albeit with fewer clear-cut chances for The Reds. It continues right up until 20 or so minutes after Jordon Ibe sweetly gave Liverpool the lead.

Either the Reds scared the life out of Rubin in both anticipation and as a result of their performance in Russia or the Kazan manager decided to try to make it a 20-minute game.

The truth is probably a bit of both as truths so often prove themselves to be. Liverpool were able to dominate both possession and territory by virtue of being better at football but Rubin’s reserves were being kept for a final flurry.

When it came, the final flurry was really rather pathetic. If you have to spend too much of the game shuttling across, closing down, doing all the concentrating, you find it hard to rally.

The concentrating is the key thing. Liverpool need to get better at draining mental reserves, penning in, turning round, finding space around the edges of penalty areas in order to find space in the centre of penalty areas. The final third can be camped in. The final ball can be exquisite torture.

It’s a strong Liverpool side. Having taken them all all that way a strong side makes sense.

We appear to be playing something approximating 4-2-2-1-Milner. Where Milner goes dictates the shape. Which somewhat shows the ever increasing futility of writing the shape down numerically.

The man who shuns gloves in sub-zero training settled wide left, often available for one more, often just lacking. Everyone shows their strengths and weaknesses like this while being better than their opponents.

Emre Can so often doing the daft thing before the good thing, the good thing before the daft thing. A great tackle after giving it away cheaply. A sublime first touch on the edge of the area taking players out of the game, a ridiculous second standing on the ball.

Firmino and Ibe linked beautifully for the goal, showing what makes them exciting footballers for Liverpool. Ibe streaking clear, a white line, direct, exuberant, certain. His accurate finish settling the issue. Firmino’s weight of touch — following a sublime nutmeg and pass when Milner hit the bar — is drop dead gorgeous. A simple pass to make you squeak. Do that. Do more of that.

It’s a night that perhaps should have belonged to more youngsters but does belong to Jordon. Jordon who has been slapped by his manager, gone forehead to forehead with his manager, dropped to his knees in front of his manager and now been singled out and hugged by his manager, a 40-something man seemingly determined that this should be the most fun he has ever had.

(Possibly, hopefully, a 40-something man determined this is the most fun we ever have).

Jordon Ibe is, along with the 200 who travelled, Liverpool’s hero. Jordon Ibe is our favourite. Let it all, the dominance, the exuberance, the certainty happen again.

Let Jordon be our favourite again.

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Liverpool pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda-Photo

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