THE first four of Liverpool’s goals are finished from inside the six-yard box. There’s an avalanche of caveats that can be applied to a result such as this one but the most pleasing aspect, the one which rises above all of those caveats, is the fact that those four goals are scored from inside the six-yard box. The fifth is a brilliant finish from Daniel Sturridge well worked from 14 yards out.
Liverpool showed that combination of patience and penetration which characterises all the best sides. They never forced it but it always came.
That’s the contrast from the weekend. On Saturday, Liverpool showed blunt patience punctuated by smashed efforts from distance. It’s the core reason to be cheerful. Five goals, but five goals which could just be found to mean something.
You wonder if Burton and Nigel Clough took one look at the team sheet and started to wonder about their game on Friday against Derby. Or if they wondered that at half time. Burton want to play football which is one of those caveats. The question marks around this Liverpool side could well persist against those who come not to play.
Sadio Mane has come to play. It’s another remarkably impressive performance.
His ability to stand a footballer up and then beat him is more impressive than his raw pace over 20 yards. He will need doubling — even tripling — up on by almost any opponent if he keeps this going. He will have opposing managers up nights and will have opposing full backs up the wall.
Elsewhere, it was lovely to see Jordan Henderson passing forwards. Kicking the ball progressively. In general it was good to see The Reds go outside to arrive in, rather than all trying to play inside. They didn’t get themselves jammed up. It’s the distinction between being there and arriving. In football, movement makes things happen and Liverpool’s movement around the penalty area had come on leaps and bounds.
Roberto Firmino was one who looked better served outside to in. The game was easier for him — and easier for him to show what he is good at. Divock Origi was bright and Emre Can liberated them. Joel Matip looks like a gazelle. You want more? Well he will have to play more.
The marker of the season so far though isn’t how good Mane is. Nor what Firmino does. It is Nathaniel Clyne’s delivery from out wide. It has been exceptional and looks something worked on — either the delivery itself or getting him in those areas with time to pick his head up and options to pick out.
The Reds have now scored nine in three, conceded five in the same three. They’ve exploded and self-detonated. They’ve scored tap ins and blammed in from 30 yards. They’ve given soft penalties away and lost their men.
It’s going to be a laugh, I reckon. We’re going to have a cry, I reckon.
The Reds. Breaking and lifting your heart.
All the best.
Spurs next. Into these. Let’s go, Liverpool.