Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Leicester City 0 Liverpool 3 in the Premier League at the King Power Stadium…


I’VE found a way to make you, I’ve found a way to make you smile.

The Big Nine.

There will be nothing triumphalist yet. Not yet. It won’t be tolerated. In fact, however much we win, the less it should be tolerated. Because winning suggests losing and losing happened too often for too long. I’ve no sympathy for it. Not now. Not for a second. There is a job to finish.

But I’m soppy and soft and you know that. You know that I love them and I love you. You know I save your messages just to hear your voice.

Curtis Jones happened. I knew he would and you, so many of you, never really believed. That’s OK. That’s a game of opinions. There will be nothing triumphalist yet. Not yet. It won’t be tolerated. But the fact is this — he is one of the most exciting young Liverpudlian players of his generation and there has been the desire to cast him as a squad player.

Squad player would be amazing, it’d be phenomenal. But that isn’t what he can be for Liverpool other than the fact that, if everything goes smoothly, it may be the case all of Liverpool’s midfielders are squad players. What matters is he can be one of Liverpool’s best players. What matters is…

He is the business.

He is. He is a joy to watch. He is what his manager needs and what his teammates need over and over. And suddenly he has a brace and we are left in awe.

I am left in awe.

It’s hard to be from this city and be good. You have to be so good for so long. And then you will be loved forever. But growing up here, under the microscope? It has been hard to watch people from outside the city speculate Curtis gets an easier ride because he is from Liverpool.

Like my god? Have you been paying attention?

But forget it now. We shouldn’t have to win any arguments. Because there are two to go. There was nine, and now there are two.

And now there are two.

The Big Nine was never about the outcome; it was and remains about the journey. The journey matters most for Trent Alexander-Arnold and here he was again today — either the first or second best footballer on show from either the 22 that started or finished the game. He remains revelatory. Today, in part, because of the performances he elicits from teammates such as Fabinho and Jordan Henderson. But, in part, because he is so technically special. He’s the finest you could ever conceive of.

He’s the backbone of this shift but that doesn’t mean others aren’t excelling. Both centre backs are excellent tonight in their pursuit of no encouragement. Virgil van Dijk and Ibou Konate deserve all the affection going as Liverpool give Leicester City nothing. And while their support has a mini game of “always the victims” they know they are always beaten. The game, the event, the day is Liverpool’s.

And so Liverpool sing about — serenade — Roberto Firmino. Relentlessly. Because service matters, but being in love also matters. Because being the business is everything. Because the best Scousers come from outside the city. Because this is what winning is, in all directions.

It’s what we won. What he won.

I’m an ugly man at times. Closed eye watching me. I worry. I am up nights because I seek beauty and fall short. Fall short here, fall short in the shows, fall short in my day to day. Fall short with you and that is the worst.

But Firmino brought beauty, blessed us with beauty, lived for it while grafting, because grafting, because only if you truly graft will you understand the moment to shift from artisan to artist. He did that time and again and tonight he had an ovation no one could have ever hoped for. He is one of ours and always will be.

He is beautiful.

What Liverpool do tonight brilliantly is show superiority over and over. They break Leicester with it. The evening is ours and Leicester are left broken. And there we are beautiful and serenading. There we are in our pomp. There we are on the march.

I’m soppy and soft and feel like we have conjured this Liverpool into being because we needed better, we needed a way. They have needed to perform because we demanded it at our most vulnerable.

I save your messages just to hear your voice.

Soppy and soft. Let’s stay there for the foreseeable. See what happens. I’ll never feel good enough, not for a thing, not for a moment, but — for today — Liverpool make me feel at my most beautiful.

I’ve found a way to make you, I’ve found a way to make you smile.

The Big Nine. Two to go, sunshine.

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