ANOTHER crazy win?
Nope, far from it. Very much far from it. Sanity abounded in Liverpool’s performance, in the setup, in the game management. Liverpool went through the gears against Huddersfield almost at will but what’s noticeable is that the opening goal still came with a great strike from distance.
We can relax because of that truism of truisms – a win always helps. A drive from 22 yards also always helps and there it was from a player who had toiled in the previous two games.
I think about Emre Can a lot. He needs to be in the football match. Sitting deep against sides that don’t engage him doesn’t suit the player he is. He needs the game to come to him; he needs to come to the game. When Liverpool play a good side and he is deep they bring the game to his toes. But poorer sides set up in a way to ignore him and he drifts off, drifts away, a recalcitrant teenager who is brilliant when engaged and stroppy when ignored. His studies neglected when he is neglected, but able to rise to the challenge when he is challenged.
He revelled in a strange centre-mid, right-mid hybrid tonight — making his own overlaps, holding up his own play after darting forward. He looked happy and that was nice to see.
In general, Liverpool’s midfield were very good today. There’s a conversation about what they were up against but then that’s the conversation 22 times a season these days. They all played their part. James Milner disrupted the game, popping up in awkward positions when Liverpool were in possession and snapping at heels from all angles when they weren’t. It was a mature performance and while he may not be the horse for every course anymore, he still has his uses.
Jordan Henderson was back from the start and also seemed to enjoy himself. The ball moved faster. It’s that simple. It just moved quicker and into space and in a manner which tended to demand a first touch moving forward. It’s a prompting and probing which goes that little bit unnoticed because it isn’t showy. Showiness is often where it falls down for Henderson, the bigger balls that don’t come off are better remembered than many of his small prompts.
Sadio Mane wanted a bit of it. For the first time in a while he looked more attacker than attacking midfield. Is that because the whole side were higher? Perhaps, but this is a story of cogs ever so slightly reset; Joe Gomez defending, Andy Robertson attacking, Liverpool lopsided but it led to an attacking Mane. Him and Mo Salah at times almost central forwards and both looking to strike. This wasn’t the facilitating Mane, it was the main Mane despite him failing to score.
Roberto Firmino wins the game for Liverpool just before the break. It was a million miles away but it was the business. My favourite goal ever. And a goal that had been coming in the most mundane way. Liverpool had been bringing matters to bear, being better, just better.
Huddersfield were tidy enough but lacking oomph and lacking the nous to take time away from Liverpool. Liverpool are a team you stop any way you can, and second half Huddersfield had no answers.
We play sides significantly poorer than us a fair few times before this season ends. It’s a core part of the challenge in front of us and how well we do will determine where we finish. Therefore, this sort of performance shouldn’t be talked down. It means something.
And it means another three points. Three points mean everything but they mean even more given Arsenal’s result and Tottenham and Manchester United facing each other this week. We’re in a decent place. Let’s use that decent as a springboard not an end in itself.
Let’s kick on. Another mundane win which can lead to crazier ones to come.
SUBSCRIBE to TAW Player to listen to our post-match show:
“There’s now a five point gap on Spurs, there’s an eight point gap now on Arsenal… all of a sudden things are looking up again.” ✊️
🗣 Subscribe to #TAWPlayer and listen to our immediate post-match reaction show here 👉 https://t.co/xm4toYvCUY pic.twitter.com/8MhunfDF5h
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) 30 January 2018
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
Like The Anfield Wrap on Facebook
“We’re in a decent place. Let’s use that decent as a springboard not an end in itself.”
Yes sir Mr. Atkinson! Thank you for the write up. Less emotion from you but that is good in a way to not get hyped up too much.
I wish we just stayed quiet and get on with business until we really have something to say. On that note I will ignore my advice:
For me the night were full of positives:
– Can’s wonder strike
– Firmino’s sublime finish
– Karius making a better effort at collecting crosses and saves where it was needed
– Kept a clean sheet without Virgil
– Lovren and defense did better
– Great to see Henderson playing again
– We won a game after losing two on the trot, and give us a little more confidence before we face Spurs who will no doubt come prepared to upstage us again
– Swansea beating Arsenal today ensured our loss was really their start of climbing back out of the dump, but not all that terrible as some of us supporters and the media made it out to be.
– Happy to be a Reds’ fan instead of Arsenal’s
– See Klopp smiling again
– Bought us a few more days of peace from the negative Nellies who probably wished we lost so they can prove their points on here
We still have a lot of work to do from now until the end of the season.
So come on you Reds let’s keep it up!
Agree with most of your post except the bit about Can’s “wonder strike”. Took quite a deflection to help it in. Certainly wasn’t a wonder strike by any stretch.
He was deservedly man of the match though.
Andy Robertson replacing Moreno changes everything. Moreno could help relegation fodder. Hopefully both Mignolet and Moreno will be let go today. Even the possibility of them playing is a spectre we can do without.
Can’t argue with a 0-3 win, even though Huddersfield were utter garbage.
Salah looks the best player in the league, to me. Wouldn’t swap him for Kane, Hazard, Sanchez, or de Bruyne. Also looks captaincy-material. The South Americans will come and go, but this is the lad we need to hang onto.
Presume our Summer touring plans are already set in stone, but we really should be heading for the Middle-East now that Salah is our main man. He’s potentially the world’s next best player and that whole region is going to go wild for the guy.
If Latin players are just going to use us as a stepping-stone to Spain, let’s make ourselves the club that the best Arabic players see as their natural and final destination. Start by signing Mahrez, another outstanding Middle-Eastern player who simply would not be available at such a low price were he from Brazil. As Neil has said on the pod, the fact that he remains at Leicester is simply bizarre.
Yacine Brahimi is another who is insanely undervalued and he may well prove this to our cost, when we play Porto. Faouzi Ghoulam and Hakim Ziyech are others who would enjoy significantly bigger profiles if from more-fashionable countries. Unlike South America, this is very-much a source of talent that is in its infancy.
As long as we have Mo Salah, we are in the best position to take advantage of this and doing so should be among our top priorities.
Yes, Milner the best player on the pitch, I thought. Long live the lop-sided formation. I’ve been calling for it for years, its how we set up at our best (when we won things).
Agree we should scour the world for talent but remember how we moaned about the African cup taking players out for January last year and we will have 3 world class African players this time next year.
Anyway this January was better than last, and, even though we lost 2 games we should have won, we can always look back and smile at the 2 brilliant wins we had this month. Happy February
African Cup of Nations has moved to the summer now
Mo Salah lalala Mo Salah lalala
We bought the lad from Roma and he scores every game
He’s Egyptian and he’s brilliant and Mohammed’s his name
Mo Salah lalala Mo Salah lalala
He wears red shorts, a red shirt and a pair of red socks
I’m knockin down me ‘ouse so I can build him a mosque
Mo Salah lalala Mo Salah lalala
…….I’ll get me coat.
Watching the match, it was hard not to remember that this was Klopp’s bezzie, playing like he was trying to keep the score down for the second leg. Klopp could have wheeled out a sofa, it was so comfortable.
You make so many excellent points that never seem to make it to match reports. Hendo’s zip on the ball reminded me of why we looked so dominant in the first half of last season, and why we looked so shite in the past few games. We’ve been casually probing (know there’s a phrase), but the lack of zip meant we rarely unsettled the defense.
It was an unusual game for Can. His motto is typically “brave in battle, crap in siege.” But you rightly point out that he needs to be fully engaged. Much like his running – he’s fast if he’s already running, but deadly slow if he’s starting from a stop.
A word for Robertson, who feels more secure getting forward. If Moreno took the same positions, I’d be biting my fingernails the whole game.
Another word for the transfer window. I was one preaching patience after the Coutinho sale, thinking that the club would never sell off a lynchpin of the side without having some sort of plan. As much as I appreciated the routine win over relegation fodder, I can’t help but feel deflated that my faith was so misplaced.
I had no problem waiting for VVD, but this feels much more haphazard and leaves much less room for error in the business end.
Nicely summarised. Parallels with the 3-0 win at Boro last season. Went into both games with everyone depressed after two bad results, and took care of a limited opponent without ever looking too troubled. West Brom still stings but this and helpful results elsewhere have swung the mood back around again.