A RETURNING Neil Atkinson is back in the chair to chat with Andy Heaton, Melissa Reddy and Mike Nevin about Aston Villa 0-6 Liverpool.
Is football really that simple?
For all the analysis, statistics, distance measurements and micro-management, is it really as straightforward as just having someone who’s knows their way around a penalty box and is good a putting the ball between the and under the hollow aluminium tubes?
The more than slight return of Daniel Andre Sturridge gives heavy weight to the ‘talk is cheap, goals pay the rent’ argument.
The return of the lesser spotted forward galvanized a Liverpool side who took every available opportunity to punish and truly turgid Aston Villa.
With encouraging performances across the pitch, including a masterclass of what a playmaker looks like from from Coutinho, aided and abetted by an again impressive Roberto Firmino and the beauty of movement in front of them, Liverpool decimated Villa like a dose on a cruise liner.
But was Liverpool’s victory another false dawn, merely a result of any real quality or commitment from their opponents? Or did Liverpool merely do what they’ve failed to do so many times of late and asserted their superiority with aplomb?
And how should Jürgen Klopp’s reloaded Red’s now look towards their Europa League tie against Ausburg?
Will we only really know the answer about the importance of the Villa performance after Thursday’s first-leg in Germany?
With a break between games on the horizon for the first time all season, should Klopp keep roughly the same side to gain momentum and confidence, or will he be tempted to shuffle his pack on his first return to his Germany as Liverpool manager?
Will he be tempted to wrap his star striker in the proverbial cotton wool, or will he give Daniel Sturridge the minutes to build up match sharpness with a potential grand stand finish to the season on the horizon?
All this and much more debated on this week’s ‘Big Show’, it’s your FREE Anfield Wrap Podcast.
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It’s true that it was only Villa and they were truly pathetic, but the thing about that game for me was that we could have pulled back at 3-0 or 4-0 but we didn’t. We kept on scoring goals for fun, with a confident light-heartedness, and that’s something we haven’t seen in our squad for a long time.
We have the final a few days after the second leg at home so I’d be trying to get some away goals on the board by picking the same team as against Villa (Origi starting for Sturridge aside), then rest people by trusting whichever of the FA cup kids are eligible for it to see out the tie at Anfield.
I couldn’t know any less about Augsburg if I tried so maybe they’ll just be a good side capable of doing a number on us over the course of two games regardless of who we pick. Maybe we’ll start Sturridge and end up beating them 8-0. I’m ruling nothing out in this bizarre season.
Lots of good points, the main one being that Daniel Sturridge is world class. He’s so much better than the rest of the team that it hurts, hence the psychodrama around his injuries. Coutinho is very, very good, Sturridge is a cut above. He plays football on another plane. He has the potential to be better than Aguero because he’s capable of so much more from deep.
As for Henderson, it looks to me as though he’s trying to adapt his game in order to manage the injury. I suspect he’ll do well in that role as long as there’s movement ahead of him. Might be a long-term role for him.
As for goals from midfield, I couldn’t agree more. I’m around the same age as Mike and grew up with midfielders regularly hitting double figures with all types of goals. The return to more all-round midfielders can only be a good thing. Footballers need to be able to solve problems on the pitch rather than sit in a comfort zone of micro-managed tactical specialisms. Klopp may emphasize shape but he also emphasizes risk taking and problem solving. I look forward to more goals from midfield.