WHILE the scoreline might suggest a Boxing Day massacre, for the most part it was a performance that could be described as “professional” by Jürgen Klopp’s hot and cold Reds.
It’s something that this side has been craving for far too long, the ability to keep its head and play the game out.
It’s the result that the derby should have been, it’s the result West Brom should have been, it’s the result Arsenal last week should have been, and I’ve probably missed half a dozen other examples.
Let’s be honest, for the most part, the game was absolutely turgid and when Roberto Firmino misses that chance the end of the first half I’d put my mortgage on not being the only one in the ground having Groundhog Day thoughts.
Go in frustrated at 1-0, miss a few more sitters, taking a sucker punch on 60 and then huffing and puffing for the rest of the fixture without really looking like doing anything because we don’t score after 65.
But The Reds stuck at it and managed the game with a degree of control rarely seen this season and broke the back of the game, even registering three in the black hole that has been the post 65-minute mark.
The talk before the game was either a blockbusting rout or a frustrating draw, and while Liverpool never hit the heights despite the result, it’s a performance to put in the locker.
It was a 2-0 performance with a 5-0 scoreline with a couple of lovely, lovely goals thrown in for good measure, hopefully Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is becoming something of a cult hero, can kick on and add the goals game that his talent deserves and Trent Alexander-Arnold can continue the trend of Scouse full backs whamming them in off the crossbar.
Not all great teams win trophies and plenty of ordinary ones do, banking 6/10 regulation wins without breaking sweat or doing anything hugely spectacular.
This Liverpool side has a higher ceiling than any other side in the country, bar Manchester City, when they are on it, but it lacks a calmness and authority to scrap and scrape.
The greatest gift that Liverpool can take from today’s fixture is that they they didn’t perform particularly well, the scoreline flattered the kind of performance we’ve been craving.
A performance and a win within ourselves, the building blocks of any successful side.
And hopefully putting to bed the ghosts of performances past.
Up the Scrooged Reds.