Keep on controlling the controllables, that’s all Liverpool can do now. The Reds continue on their Herculean quest to outlast Manchester City in a ludicrous title race that will see side with 93+ points come second. Insane.
With the defending champions overcoming their highest remaining hurdle with a nervy 1-0 win over Tottenham yesterday, three points by Liverpool on their visit to Cardiff City was the only option, preferably by a wide margin for goal difference purposes.
A fine Gini Wijnaldum strike and a James Milner penalty did just the trick, with the Reds combining a professional performance with a dash of good fortune to leave the Welsh capital victors by a 2-0 margin.
The second half opener came via Wijnaldum showing excellent technique to thump home a low Trent Alexander-Arnold corner in the 57th minute. Only his second away goal in the Premier League, the Dutch international explained that the routine was one prepared in advance:
”We trained for it,” the 28-year-old said speaking to Sky Sports following the match. “The ball was coming high in the first half. I was so free in the first half I told Henderson to tell Trent to put a low ball in, I got onto it and it was a good finish.”
Liverpool boss, Jürgen Klopp confirmed that the idea to run the routine was all the idea of the players:
“We created a lot of chances and for my favourite goal, number one, we had different routines but the boys decided at half-time to do it—I loved that—because the space was open for Gini and we scored it from a fantastic cross.”
The result moves Liverpool back to the top of the table on 88 points but with their rivals at City a mere point behind with a game in hand. Arguably, Pep Guardiola’s side’s sternest remaining test is the upcoming derby Wednesday against a stuttering Manchester United, themselves fresh off of a 4-0 humbling at the hands of seventh-placed Everton.
Even so, the Liverpool boss continued to reiterate as he has in recent weeks that Liverpool can only control the games the have ahead of them:
”We expect ourselves to win every game,” the 51-year-old continued. “Other teams will do some business in the summer.
”We have the momentum as well, we haven’t always had it but we’ve not lost it for long, and then you can win that number of games – but having 88 points in this Premier League, with our oppoennts, it’s so massive we can do that, it’s special so let’s carry on.”
”If you want to convince people, you have to do more than others but then step by step, we have been more and more convinced of ourselves, the boys look left and right and see a lot of quality sitting there.
”We are totally happy with the squad, and if Manchester City weren’t there we could achieve everything this season. That’s how it is, but we’re happy with what we have, and will try our best to achieve whatever we can.”
Next up is relegation-battling Huddersfield Town next Saturday. Three sets of 90 minutes more to immortality.