HOW much fun was that? Just about the most fun we’ve had at Anfield for some time. Liverpool showed tactical nous and passed the ball quickly with real tempo. The atmosphere was terrific as well, a Boxing Day crowd rising to the performance of the players.
Jordan Henderson for 70 minutes gave what was probably the best midfield performance any Liverpool player has put in this calendar year, switching play in every meaningful sense. And Liverpool did all this against the league leaders who have offered a puzzle many sides have struggled to solve.
It was a game to laugh your head off about, a cracking game of football between two sides who work hard and look to make things happen quickly. A game that makes you bounce out of the ground. Exactly what you want at Christmas.
Here is a list of things I wouldn’t have been laughing about had Leicester equalised very late in the game:
a) Liverpool falling out of the game in the seven or so minutes after they scored.
b) The failure to score an open goal when it was 23 on 1.
c) The lack of composure around the area, leading to a ton of shots from outside the area.
And b) is the most concerning. You don’t get many open goals in football like that. And we know that our heads will fall off to some degree until we put a run of home results together.
But also c) — the number of shots Liverpool felt they needed to have from distance was remarkably frustrating and we know patience around the area, creating seven and eight out of 10 chances is something the manager and his team have been working on. They will have to work harder.
Can and Henderson especially showed enormous quality and intelligence getting Liverpool through the first two thirds of the pitch but that quality and intelligence was lacking from those ahead of them. Time and again Liverpool rushed it in front of goal.
But enough of that. Enough of what we can dwell on that needs to improve. Enough for now. It is Boxing Day, Liverpool have beaten the league leaders and done so with aplomb. They deserved the three points.
Dejan Lovren played ever so well at centre back supplying a possible path through for the future, Nathaniel Clyne improved getting round the back, Adam Lallana was very bright and Divock Origi looked to turn them round.
The game belonged to the midfield two though. Klopp put them man for man against Leicester’s pair and they won their battles emphatically; the two best central midfielders on the pitch today were Liverpool players by some distance.
Emre Can read the game well and Henderson shifted the ball ever so quickly, turning Leicester’s back six back and forth, in and out of possession.
Leicester City’s vocal support was noticeably quietened and silenced by The Reds and, while they always posed a threat, their most likely route to success was going to be a set piece or a Liverpool error.
Neither emerged, at least not terminally.
Liverpool will hopefully keep their heads better, around the box and when ahead. But no-one can say these players, many of them the same players as those on the pitch last week against Watford, lack character, lack fight. They showed both in abundance today.
The Reds, I like to think of them laughing their heads off in the dressing room after, I like to think of them proud of themselves. They should be. They deserve to be.
Sunderland next. Let’s get on a run.
Pics: Propaganda-Photo–David Rawcliffe
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Just to note..it wasn’t an open goal. Needs the defender to be 10 yards either side.
Everything today was the opposite of last week. Keeper solid, back 4 composed (mostly), midfield dynamic, Firmino bright, strikers giving the defenders lots of work. Most of all, we more than matched them for effort and our quality came through. Blueprint that.
Apart from the now-familiar ‘heart attack’ moments from our defender, mainly Sakho, it was quite a good team performance. Like you said, polar opposite from last week. Hope the team maintain this form and blueprint into 2016…
Hendo, Lovren and even Ming (I am not complaining if he performs like this 9 out of 10 matches; and make all the mistakes in that one match : -) deserve special mention, I think.
He’s not the most spectacular player in the league but my does our captain do everything right. Quick 10 footer here, long ball in behind there, shouting (even came through the telly)from everywhere being all over. We’ve certainly missed a 70% Hendo in out team. Can’t wait for him to be 100% so he can make that ball happen. Kind of felt sorry for him there.
Sakho still looking rusty, but in the end he and Lovren dealt with the lot, hopefully they can stay on.
Statics,scorelines and nonsense aside, I’ve been waiting for a performance like this, a performance where we keep going and going and going. Yes they had a scare or two in the last 7 or 8 but you really can’t do better than that, but to score in the end obviously. Bring on whoever that’s next in line. Like you said Neil, that’s the beginning of a run.
Spot on, Marcus. Agreed with all your points…Happy days, indeed…
Christ, statistics, scorelines and that sort of nonsense are why we haven’t won the league for 25 years.
We’ve just held on for a plucky 1-0 win against Leicester City at home. They’ll probably be back down in the Championship, in 18 months time.
Some perspective, please.
Bottom line is — we won — against the League Leader (yes they happened to be the surprise package Leicester) who have not lost a game since September, and we shut them off from scoring for the first time in the league this season.
So, instead of feeling sorry about that 1-0 win, I would rather celebrate not just for the 3 points but also for the good attacking match (especially before Origi went off injured) and the whole hearted effort from the whole team (what a turn around from Watford match)…
Was Benteke not offside (not given) because Schmeichel wasn’t the last man? Should have scored and asked questions later but still, thought “he’s off there?”.
Yep, Benteke was at least 10 yards offside as there was only one Leicester player between him and the goal. Linesman had a mare there.
Last 30 seconds of that game was the maddest shit I’ve ever seen in me life. That and dudek’s double save in Istanbul. Just pass it in so this cardiac arrest can subside.
Of course we were gonna be the team to finally lose to Newcastle but finally beat Leicester. Liverpool: at the scene of all the crimes.
Well in the ev at the end just then as well. Let’s all go to town.
Maybe it was just the festive mood/spirit, or maybe just a few bottles of booze, I was not nervous at all — just confident somehow that we would win this match!!!
In Klopp we trust!!!
Smashing game of football that. Great character from the lads, and even better from the crowd today — once more An field shows its power. It must be said… that last chance, how? No, seriously, how? I’ll say this though, if we win all of our matches 1-0 and miss an open net like that every time… I’ll take it.
THANK YOU, Liverpool.
THANK YOU, TAW.
THANK YOU, all the players and staff…
THANK YOU, all the fans in Anfield today (excellent atmosphere, that).
Thank you for 2015.
“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” (blah blah blah : -)
Good review that, Neil. Ticked all the right boxes. Henderson’s was the best playmaking performance we’ve seen from a Liverpool midfielder for quite some time, Can was busy and Lovren solid. Need to finish games off mind.
Moving Coutinho back would box both the shooting and passing problems off in one move.
Origi looked really good today, if we could ally his movement with Benteke’s conviction in front of goal (last minute howler excepted), we’d have a helluva player.
Pretty much spot on Neil, plenty to improve on but let’s go on a run, the change in mentality over two games is crazy really, next stop consistency… Up the Reds..
Watford result was the best thing to happen so far. I think Klopp was caught snoozing on that one tactically and knows it, and it also showed him how inexplicably inconsistent this squad can, er, will be, regardless of how they may do in training.
For me, Hendo, Coutinho and Firmino are the only truly intelligent passers of the ball we have, Moreno occasionally, the rest of them are only slight above average for the league, that showed again today.
3 good passers is enough in a team though if there is good movement up top. Lost that when Origi went off. Never thought I’d say that.
Still, Firmino picked it out and Benteke poached one.
This truly was a 1-1 we just nicked tbh, about 3 times of which we got very lucky in our own box, for once. Fantastic to watch.
Long term, Lovren and Skrtel have to go as starters and Sahko needs someone to work with him on his feet during the first 5 seconds of receiving a pass under pressure. A lot.
Is Klopp cryptically complaining about something with the new stand and unforeseen wind effects? Much like Brendan’s cryptic remarks about the shit pitch?
This wouldn’t be something someone sitting in the stands will be able to answer, need the TAW inside intel from a player.
Good write up Neil. Merry Christmas :)
Yep. Though Lovren has improved. You’re right about our passers (and Origi).
Remember the days when Xabi Alonso would have just pinged that ball into the back of the net from seventy yards. I like this team, they all seem like good lads, but there’s no magic anymore. Hopefully we can dog out top four and look to do something special in the summer.
A good win, on a weekend when United, Arsenal, Chelsea drop points (and of course Leicester).
As for the Benteke miss, I remember thinking at the time…
He’ll mess this up…
Oh, like that.
Can the lady in the van fuck off ( Bluenose in disguise)
Good win…let’s go again.