It was supposed to be ugly. It was supposed to be disjointed. Instead, it was a lot of fun! Jurgen Klopp has shown himself to be a lineup mixologist, mixing and matching his way yet another win at Fortress Anfield. And despite missing a bevy of the best players in the world, the not exactly ragtag bunch that took the field today put forth one of the best performances all season. The Reds were on the front foot from the off, showing a swaggering attacking verve. Defensively, the squad did a good job of minimizing chances on the counter by playing a deeper line.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
No Jordan Henderson, no Thiago, no Trent Alexander-Arnold, no Joe Gomez, no <insert name here>. When Liverpool’s line up came out, it was astonishingly...not worrying. Sure missing a lot of world class players is rough, but Liverpool’s recruitment and academy has provided Jurgen Klopp with enough depth to put an extremely talented side out. Credit also goes to the coaching staff for having these players ready to step in and impress against one of the better teams in the league.
Where to even begin with the Portuguese dynamo? He was scintillating all game long with his work on the ball, and yet again he makes the perfect run at the right time and buried his chance with a fantastic flicked header. He has a knack for riding a challenge with his low center of gravity and quick feet, and almost scored a couple more times. He ended the game with 3 shots on target from 5 total shots, and provided 3 key passes to boot (stats from whoscored.com).
4 - Diogo Jota is the first player in Liverpool's history to score in each of his first four home top-flight league appearances for the club. Fantastic. pic.twitter.com/AcQ1za4mYE— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 22, 2020
The Brazilian forward looked like he was on his way to yet another game where he did everything BUT score at Anfield. His movement was stellar, creating an open lane for Diogo Jota to run into for his goal. Firmino also was dynamic on the ball, completing 4 dribbles, and getting 6 shots off. He hit the post twice and had a ball cleared off the line before finally powering a header home off of a corner for the third goal of the game.
The young Scouser stepped into a starting role yet again, and yet again showed he absolutely belongs as part of the midfield unit on the world and league champions. Jones was phenomenal tactically today, playing on both the left and the right of the midfield three. He was positive and incisive with the ball, both passing and dribbling, when the space was there. He never forced anything, however, and was content to recycle possession to switch the point of attack if he didn’t have better options. He also did a very solid job defensively, tracking back to make a brilliant tackle on Jamie Vardy in the first half. He also did a lot of positional defending in the second half, providing support to another youngster, Neco Williams, when he came in at right back.
It was a patchwork bunch, but they got it done. Joel Matip and Fabinho formed yet another center back partnership, flanked by stalwart Andrew Robertson and jack-of-all-trades James Milner. Both fullbacks provided stellar service (before Milner moved into midfield, and continued to provide stellar service a little further forward). Matip and Fabinho did a very nice job of keeping the game in front of them, rarely letting the speedy Jamie Vardy get a run off the back shoulder of either of them. Not to be left out, Alisson was aggressive off of his line the couple times a player did get a run through, and made two strong saves
Naby Keita’s Injury History
The Guinean midfielder started the game brightly, but yet again succumbed to a muscle injury in the second half. After sitting out with another injury and not playing significant minutes since September, Keita was played 90 minutes twice in a week over the international break. While that stress on his body after and extended layoff didn’t help, at this point Naby doesn’t seem like he can be relied upon to play multiple times a week and recover.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is my analysis of Evans scoring an own goal (and repeatedly getting taken to task).
From The Manager
“Very! He has a new record now as well, the closest to a goal with goalline technology! Congratulations to him on that!”
-Jurgen Klopp on how happy he is for Bobby Firmino
What Happens Next
Liverpool kicked off yet another extremely packed stretch of fixtures with their win today. The Reds now sit tied on points at the top of the table, but are second on goal differential to a Tottenham team entering a tough stretch of their schedule. Liverpool continue their Champions League group stage with the reverse fixture against Atalanta on Wednesday before returning to league play with the early fixture away to Brighton on Saturday.