Things could not have been scripted much better for Liverpool as they kicked off the North West derby against Manchester United. Manchester City drew and Leicester City lost, leaving Liverpool with a chance to extend their already immense lead. To top it off, Fabinho and Joel Matip were both fit enough to make the bench. All the Reds needed was a win to top things off. It wasn’t the prettiest of games at points, but Liverpool finished off a 2-0 win with a goal at the death.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
Midfield Masterclass: Liverpool’s midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Geogornio Wijnaldum, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put on a marvelous display. Henderson played the hard man at times, putting several Manchester United players on the turf with hard tackles. He also rattled the post with an absolute blast. Wijnaldum popped up everywhere on the pitch to recover the ball, hold off multiple defenders with his posterior, and then steal souls with his fancy footwork. Ox was very effective dropping into gaps between the defense and midfield, and then turning and driving up the field into dangerous positions. This was one of the best overall midfield showings of the season.
Virgil van Dijk: The Dutch defender was purring on the defensive end as always, but he absolutely posterized Harry Maguire to score off of a corner kick. The Best Defender in the World absolutely outclassed the Most Expensive Defender in the World today.
Keeper Assists: Not only did Alisson Becker make the save from Juan Mata (in an offside position), he drilled a beautiful ball to an unmarked Mohamed Salah, and then somehow was the first one down the field to celebrate the goal he assisted.
LiVARpool: There are certain sections of the interwebs that would have you believe the VAR has incorrectly been used to give Liverpool the league. Well, Liverpool had two goals chalked off today thanks to the technology.
Strikers’ Shooting Boots: Mo finally got his goal against Manchester United, but not after 90+ minutes of futility from the strikers of trying to hit the back of the net. Both Mo and Sadio Mane both spurned gilt edged chances to blow the game wide open. Roberto Firmino did score off of a beautiful shot, but it was called back for a foul on the keeper earlier in the sequence.
How The Fans Reacted
As the final whistle blew, a chant started around Anfield. I honestly didn’t believe what my ears were hearing at first, but it was unmistakable, “We’re gonna win the league”! The Kop, and the rest of the stadium, now fully believes what we’ve all had in the back of our minds for weeks, if not months, now. After 30 years of futility, Liverpool are going to win the league.
What Happens Next
Liverpool take their 16 point lead in the table to Wolverhampton on Thursday to take on Wolves. Going to the Molineux can be a tricky proposition, but Liverpool seem primed and ready for anything thrown their way. It should be a strong line up as the Reds will likely run out a mixture of youths and reserves against Shrewsbury next Sunday.