WE can and will talk about all of it but let’s start with the second half.
From the outset, when Liverpool could sit on a one-goal lead, they throw the kitchen sink at West Ham. They demonstrated enormous superiority over West Ham. Liverpool didn’t sit in and defend their lead, instead they did the thing that you should do when you pick your best players — send them out to be the best players on the pitch.
When in doubt, pick your best players. All the talent wearing toxic thunder. Comparatively less talent wearing claret and blue Union Jacks on their arms.
I’ve no doubt there is more to everything than just picking your best players. But as a starting point, when in doubt just do that. Just pick your best players. They will always help.
Phil Coutinho to Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge dropping every shoulder ever. The arms. The arms. My wiggly arms senses had been tingling since Friday, tingling even more from when the game kicked off. Sturridge offers you this knowledge that he is so superior to what he is up against. At the actual football, the thing when the round bit is at his feet, I think he is the equal of Alexis Sanchez. At lots of other bits, not least getting on the pitch, he doesn’t match up. But to see him receive the ball, manipulate the ball, shift and look and be alive, so alive, it’s remarkable, a reminder that while all these lads are elite at what they do, there is elite and then there is elite. There is something almost supernatural about the lads who are the very best.
Coutinho deeper was marvellous to see, not least because he still netted twice. He’s no less dangerous from deep, in fact he could prove more dangerous. Passing and arriving, dribbling and opening his body in the middle of the pitch. He’s too good to be wide and peripheral. He’s too able to supply.
Coutinho deeper is a great example of a lot of what we have seen in the last four away games — learning a way home for next season. Two up front is something that still surprises and hurts opponents, something they rarely have to deal with. Yes, a diamond exposes your full-backs at times, but the job is winning for Liverpool. It was their most expansive performance on the road against a bottom half side this calendar year. West Ham acquiescing to the inevitable easily helped, but then this is something which happens in the “normal” season. These lads, these opponents, they want you to prove your superiority, prove you are just better, walk back in the dressing room and shrug shoulders. Too good, boss. Too good, gaffer.
Emre Can, Joel Matip and Simon Mignolet all had tidy afternoons, better than their opponents, just in charge. Two or three very panicked moments aside this was the day. Liverpool running the show, toxic thunder resplendent. High visibility passing and moving.
The bigger picture — Liverpool are one more display of quality away from the target for the campaign. One more showing. Fair play to them, lesser sides would and have wilted in the circumstances. But they trusted what they do. They trusted their swagger. Popping it off, standing their man up and doing him. More of that next week.
Beyond this, I think I have a problem. Sturridge is probably my favourite footballer in the whole wide world. Favourite for all the weaknesses and all the issues and the intelligence. For all the reasons why people are on his back. For all the issues. For all the attitude but also for the smile when talking to Jürgen Klopp, for the sharpness and the goals, for the fact he is that good, for the fact he is tragic, for the fact he is magic, for the fact he lets you know what time it is.
I have a problem because he probably won’t be at Liverpool next season. My favourites will always be the 11 lads in Red. My favourites will always be Liverpool being better. Just better.
Up the superior Reds. May they always be by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.
West Ham 0 Liverpool 4: Match Ratings
West Ham 0 Liverpool 4: The Final Whistle
West Ham 0 Liverpool 4: The Pink
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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That was a lot of fun. An awful lot of fun. Had a 0-6 at Villa last season feel about it.
Liverpool taking the piss. West Ham happy to accept it because they know they can’t compete. That’s what proper teams do, they make their opponents happy to lose.
Sturridge is so good. Seriously, scarily good. It cannot be overstated how difficult it is to do what he did for the first. Loneliest place in football that, one-on-one with the keeper. The goal looking tiny, so many options, so much time. Sturridge makes it look the easiest thing in the world. You simply cannot coach that into a player and there’s no point pretending you can. As for that turning of Cresswell for Divock’s goal……..
Can we just keep him, Jurgen?
Coutinho as well. Poetry in motion. Deep role is the future. Remember 5-1 against Arsenal a few years back. His first was brilliant but that second goal. My oh my that second. There was a similar situation against Palace a few weeks back when he was fouled but stayed up and the ball was blocked. This time he kept it for what felt like 25 minutes before murdering the ball into the net. THAT is the kind of finishing I want from this team. Finesse is nice, it really is, but very little compares to a finish like that.
Lallana and Wijnaldum must have covered approximately 37km each today. Can was assurance personified.
How nice to watch us demolish a team without getting out of third gear. Football is rarely enjoyable but today was.
Well said Dan!
well said mate . Can’t remember last game that was that enjoyable .
Truly brilliant comment,
Thanks Jess & Jim.
Glad I am not the only one to acknowledge that football is actually not that enjoyable most of the time, but games like yesterday make up for that. Our lads sensed weakness and squeezed the life out of West Ham. A joy to behold.
I said last week that Jurgen got his selection and tactics wrong, which left a few small doubts in my mind. And when I thought we’d started with Sturridge on the right a few more set in. But full credit to him for assuaging those doubts by setting us up beautifully with the resources available to him today. Maybe necessity is invention’s ma after all.
Let’s finish the job next week. Can’t bear the thought of a load of Sunday games next season.
9 guys doing a fine job carrying the piano, 2 guys playing the sweetest tunes.
Personally, I’d keep Sturridge, and let Divock go.
Bag of nerves today but the boys were just different class. One more cup final to go….
So would I! Class is class…
Agreed. Sturridge even if fit 25% of the season is worth keeping. If we sell him, we get 15-20 mil (???) and then spend some of that on a half decent forward? The real issue is Origi. He’s pretty abject. His team mates seem to have no confidence in him – thats the most telling bit. He’ssimply not at the required level and even though he’s young etc, I don’t think he going to to ever reach the level he needs to be operating at in order to lead the line.
Sell Origi. Keep Sturridge. Buy 2 more strikers. Give some of the younger lads a chance too.
Yes Coutinho had two goals and an assist, but the narrative is all Sturridge. What a lovely player when playing. Could and should be the best striker in England. With all the joy he brings, he simultaneously breaks my heart. His Liverpool story, a tragedy. God bless you Danny boy… you will always be one of my favorites.
I’ve been asking myself why it is we’re all resigned to Sturidge going. Now he’s fit it’s easy to forget we haven’t been able to rely on him but I think it’s largely down to the Klopp doesn’t fancy him line. Its probably fair to say Klopp has possibly got a few things wrong recently. I’m left wondering has he got this wrong. Different level to Origi.
It’s not inconceivable City could draw one if there’s. That Origi chance where he didn’t square it could be costly. Would have put us level on goal difference.
But, don’t want to moan. I’d lost confidence after the Arsenal win last night. Absolutely huge result. So relieved.
I don’t think Klopp doesn’t fancy him but its more like he’s annoyed when Sturridge declares himself unavailable. Earlier it was ok but now with players like Firminho, Mane, Lallana around who take any little opportunity to start a match, Sturridge sticks out like 100,000 pounds a week sore thumb. There is no way they’ll keep paying him that for playing just 10 games a season.
I get that but when he has been fit he’s started Origi. We can’t say for sure why. Maybe he deemed him not fit enough to start. It does seem for whatever reason Klopp doesn’t fancy him. Maybe we should give him one more chance. In saying that, go back a few weeks and I was desperate for us to sell him because his 150k a week could be put towards someone who will be available for most of the season. It’s a tough one. See what happens innit.
That was a serious relief of pressure is right. Can’t underestimate what a big goal that was from Studge. I agree totally Neil. What a player he is. Once again the body language between JK and him belies any suggestion of a rift. If only the flesh was as strong as the spirit. If only he will or would be happy with being a tactical weapon awaiting selective use for us in the future. We’ll have to wait and see.
What a boss day.
Wiggly arms dance. O Magico brace. 4-0 in third gear.
And a hat trick for Dirk to win the Eredivise for all the old romantics out there.
The arms, the arms, the arms, how I’ve missed those arms.
Anyone who thinks Bobby F’s a better player than Danny Sturridge is an arse: what a difference he made today. Such a shame his body hates him. Better in a 2 with Phil behind him too.
Such a relief to see a bit of flexibility from the manager too. I’ve been calling for him to play 2 up top since Mane got injured. Gets the best out of Danny, Divok and Phil and allows Lallana to play in a more natural position.
When Coutinho hit Sturridge for the first goal, I practically had tears in my eyes. Partly because there seemed a very real chance that it would be another season of magic ending in the tragic. But mostly because it immediately brought back the joyous thrills of 13/14. A Coutinho through ball from our own half splitting the defense into tatters, Sturridge running on goal with only one outcome possible. For a second, I half expected Gerrard to jump into the celebrations. The wiggly arms. The wiggly arms. My goodness, have I missed the wiggly arms. Every armchair pundit talking about “lazy” Sturridge making up injuries in his head, as if he wanted to mis the prime of his career just to collect a paycheck. Bastards, the lot of you. Sturridge in his pomp is just about everything for which I love the footie. A magnificence, a grace, an arrogance of talent, a physical charisma, the ability to bend the rules of time merely by touching the ball with his foot. And what could be better than him having a laugh with Klopp, so much unspoken but left unsaid because what can you do but laugh?
I’m resigned to see him go – damn that body made of crisps – but I hope in my heart of hearts to sign Lacazette in the fool’s hope that he’ll bring that same sort of joy to the game. That he’ll be there to connect to those magical passes splitting defenses through the infinite like a physical incarnation of some rarified mathematical formula.
But some deeply, desperately nostalgic part of me will continue to wonder what would have happened to 14/15 if the sliding doors didn’t close, that Sturridge held his fitness for the duration. What sights would we have seen? What joys would we have enjoyed?
Well said, Walter.
Love the prose, Walter.
Love the sentiment.
Just like September again, wasn’t it? That last half hour was the most fun I’ve had watching us in months. Sturridge with what’ll likely be his last classic Liverpool performance. Coutinho producing the first of many classic Liverpool performances in a new position that could do for him what a deeper role has done for Lallana. Got two huge slices of luck but we’ve been long overdue for a couple. One more win and we’re there. Have said that a couple of times already since March but this time it really is just one more.
(On the positivity / negativity thing: there’s too much told-you-so-ism in both camps. You’re allowed to be cocky; you’re allowed to be anxious. There’s a generational gap between those who were alive when Liverpool last won the league and those who weren’t. Hence the strange phenomena of vindication in defeat on one hand, and meltdowns about the meltdown on the other. I’m simplifying here but there’s a grain of truth somewhere in that point).
That can be dissected some other time. Much more importantly, we’re 3 points away from an accomplishment that’s not the ultimate but not to be scoffed at either. A spot in the top 4 would be what everyone deserves from this exhilarating, exhausting season.
Is it naive, hopeful thinking that just maybe with a full summer of recovery and no international duties for Daniel, that he can play a significant role for this team next year?
What realistically could he be sold for with the wages he’s on? You save the wages of course, but he’d need to be replaced and I can’t imagine there are quality cut rate strikers out there for peanuts.
When I saw the starting 11 I was genuinely excited today, last week for soton I was definitely not.
Keep him and tell him he plays home and away against the bottom 12 body permitting. Then mid-week games when it is not 2 in a week. That move for Origi’s goal, defender desperate not to let him shift it left and plant it in the top bin, so he glides past on the right.
A simple game complicated by idiots, pick your best players.
Thirded. (sorry couldn’t resist!)
Imagine in the Bernabeu or Allianz Arena next season – do we want Sturridge up top or Origi? It’s very simple which one should be kept at all costs. Buy a top class striker so we can use Sturridge sparingly, but don’t get rid and yet keep Origi.
Agree with all.
Nice shout to MY MUMS COLA
Quality isn’t the issue with Sturridge, it’s getting him on the pitch which is the issue. If he didn’t have a body made out of rice-paper he’d probably have won the Ballon d’Or by now. Unfortunately for him and for us he just can’t be relied upon long term. I guess Klopp will decide whether his transfer fee/wages can be put to better use, or if it’s worth keeping him as the most luxurious of luxury players in the coming years. I’m sure I echo the opinion of most Liverpool fans when I say I’d like to see him stay, however I don’t know if I want to endure the frustration of having a Ferrari sitting on the driveway with no engine in it.
Anyway, great win and some cracking goals. Definitely going into work bouncing after that performance, this is what makes footy great. Everything to play for in the final game. C’mon you reds!
I believe that if had brought him on earlier in both Southampton games, Sturridge could have earned us 4 more points. Add that to the 2 against Everton, there’s 6, in the most disappointing of seasons. Take his scuffed shot v Everton away and we likely finish behind Arsenal. Add 4 points and we are at the beach. As the TAW team often say, the margins are so fine at this level, and I believe the concept of luxury player needs to be seen in that context. Plus you just know if we sell him to an English club he will win a game for them against us next year.
Couple of things – how about a shout for getting the best out of Sturridge AND Origi by playing the diamond? Divock looked way more confident, to me, picked it up and ran at the defence a few times, which surely is his strength? Do I mind that he didn’t square to DS? NO! Who made the chance, pretty sure it wasn’t Sturridge
How more often should we play the diamond, and does that include v Boro?
We should play either a diamond or 4-4-2 much more often. I’ve been banging on about it for weeks. Pick your best players then build they system around them, not t’other way around, particularly when you have a small squad. Been the one real disappointment this season: the tactical inflexibility having hinted at greater flexibility at the start of the season.
Splendid and incisive football.
Superior commentary, as well.
thanks for that, Neil.
Great game and we have it all to play for in the last game.
Please don’t slag off Origi now, as you did Sturridge when he was called the wrap-me-up-in-wool player. The Kop sang Origi’s name when he scored those goals remember?
I miss Sturridge and want to see more of him whenever he is fit. So I wouldn’t sell either of these players.
Klopp woke up and made some changes to the formation. I wish he was adapting more to the game week in and week out.
Like some I have been left frustrated and low on confidence with the poor performances since Jan, but it’s games like this that makes it worth the painful times.
Let’s focus on the last game. We need Anfield to not Shut up from the get go!!!
Up the Reds!!!
I wouldn’t swap our manager for anyone, and I mean anyone, but the one thing that worries me is his apparent preference for graft and systems over class and individualism. Don’t know if it’s the squad or dogma, the summer transfer business should tell us.
You can have both, of course, (Reus, Suarez, Sanchez) but it’s rare. I’ll always prefer a manager who picks Le Tissier over Dowie.
Agree. I have seen people respond to criticism of the manager with comments like “think you could do a better job, then?” Well, of course not. I am pretty sure if Klopp watched me do my job as closely as I watch parts of his he could point out mistakes also. But that doesn’t mean couldn’t do my job better than I can.
I feel we almost need two systems – we have league-winning for against top 7 so play how we do against them, and change it up for the other games. Another Mane would help.
“I feel we almost need two systems – we have league-winning for against top 7 so play how we do against them, and change it up for the other games. Another Mane would help.”
This. Two up top against the weaker sides.
Agreed on all counts.
Genuinely hard to think where Sturridge would go, isn’t it? If West Brom are the eighth-best team in the country, he is miles too good for anybody in the bottom twelve. He would also represent a massive extravagance for those teams in view of his wages and injury record. Equally, I can’t see us selling to anybody in the top seven, and – in any case – I’m not sure Arsenal are going to shell out for a striker who makes a few cameo appearances. I would keep him for the cameos. I also think we might not have much choice. Sad if he goes on loan to e.g. West Ham. What’s the point?
Tragic magic indeed. Lovely game. I think we all deserved this,specially Neil and Daniel and Klopp. Feels like we have been in the desert a long time. This tastes so good.
I think Neil the same argument you’ve made before about keeping Benteke for this season – that he could have got us 6 points – you can make for keeping Sturridge as well. The problem might be if he wants to stay. If we’re in the CL that might be incentive enough for him? I don’t buy into the ‘Klopp doesn’t fancy him’ argument. I think Klopp is doing everything he can to get the best out of him on the pitch without risking another injury. He will play if he’s fit, whether at Liverpool or any other team. He hasn’t played enough because there is obviously an issue with his body and that will be the case everywhere he goes. Liverpool should keep him for at least one more season. It’s so obvious he’s different class when fit.
Far more vertical passing today. Much improved. More, please.