Liverpool enjoys a well-deserved eight-day break (the Reds might get to actually train!?) before the next game on the 27th of December, so let’s all take a breath and marvel over the goals the lads have scored thus far this season.
In 2019/20 the Reds scored 114 goals in all competitions, and finished with 19 different goal-scorers — a far cry from the days when claims of over-reliance on the front three made up loads of column inches. Liverpool finished with all of the front three on double-digits in goals scored, with the team conceding just 62 (and collecting a few trophies along the way).
When Jordan Henderson netted his goal against Crystal Palace at the weekend he became the fourteenth different goal-scorer this season, scoring the fifty-fourth goal in 23 total matches played. Though the 0-7 scoreline away in London was a clinic on decisive finishing — something the Reds have not always been good at — there are plenty of quality finishes to choose from thus far this season.
Let’s remind ourselves of the goals this season, in the order in which each new goalscorer opened his account (though you might also want to take the week off to explore the highlights playlist on the Liverpool FC YouTube channel or on LFCTV first). There’s a poll to vote in at the end, but with so many brilliant goals to choose from, how do we pick a standout?
Meet the Fourteen Different Goalscorers
(And a cheeky bonus.)
Takumi Minamino (four goals)
Though he’s been criticized in some quarters for his slow start to his time at Liverpool (though certainly not by Jürgen Klopp), Minamino was actually the first name on the season’s scoresheet with his finish against Arsenal in the Community Shield, scoring in the seventy-third minute to take the match to extra time.
He’s scored a total of four goals this season across three different competitions, with his goal away at Palace his first Premier League goal — and what a goal it was: taking the time to take a touch under pressure before slotting the opening goal last weekend left us with distinctly “cheeky Bobby Firmino goal in extra time in Qatar” vibes (or maybe even a hint of Salah against Watford).
Mohamed Salah (16 goals)
As noted elsewhere, Salah is quietly on 40-goal-a-season form, having slotted 16 in 23 already in 2020/21. He opened his account against Leeds on the opening day of the Premier League, starting the season as he meant to continue by scoring a hat trick (made up of two pens and one absolutely smashed in after a poor clearance). The “smash one in after a poor clearance” Salah goal was also on show in the Merseyside Derby we’d all love to forget (let alone his goals against Villa in the game that we will definitely not be talking about).
Picking the best goal from his 16 total (he scored 23 in total last season, mind) is a tough ask, but this speaks to the pure variety of goals he can score.
His second goal against Palace might work best as it was a “vintage Salah”: a curled effort top bins from just outside the area, put away after cutting in onto his left foot. You know what he wants to do as a defender, but it’s not easy to stop him.
His goals against Midtjylland and Wolves remind us of how lethal he can be if given an inch by a defender, latching on ruthlessly to defensive errors to score the opening goal in both matches (against Midtjylland after a long run, reminiscent of his goal against Atalanta).
His numerous pens remind us that you can be a strong penalty taker without needing any run-up tomfoolery: he just smashes (and sometimes passes) them in, doesn’t he? He’s definitely loving that we get awarded pens this season, to be sure.
If you were to pick just one of Salah’s, I think it would have to be the second one against Palace, really, for his composure and the quality of the shot. Quite good isn’t he? You understand why journalists are sure someone in Spain wants to lash a load of money out for him.
Virgil Van Dijk (one goal)
Though it’s brilliant to see Big Virg starting on recovery work with a football in videos released today, he did have an opportunity to notch a goal in before his season was cut short, putting in a free header against Leeds so strong that it carried their tiny keeper into the net with it. Forceful.
Anyway, think about that lovely opening day goal (and the effective basketball-like screen that gave him the space to score it) while watching the gorgeous black and white vids of him doing bits (again, I cannot stress this enough) with an actual football.
Sadio Mané (six goals)
While Mané hasn’t been on the scoresheet as often as we might have expected given his form last season (he finished the season with 22 goals, just one less than Salah), the six he has managed have often been sublime (and to be fair to him, his “low” scoring rate has him on pace to flirt with 20 goals even if he doesn’t improve and his Egyptian mate has benefited from the fact that we actually win pens this season).
That he’s on single digits in goals scored might explain why he was so peeved to come off at the weekend, as surely any player with an eye for goal would have preferred to remain on the pitch against a Palace side that shipped seven. Still, loads to choose from in Mané’s 2020/21 highlight reel, as he opened his account with one of his “how has he put that in, he’s only tiny” headers against Chelsea in September — scoring an opening goal from a chance worth only 0.15 xG.
His second goal against Chelsea in the 0-2 away win made the Londoners all the more sure they needed to get a new keeper in sharpish, as the Senegalese intercepted a poor pass from the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, Kepa Arrizabalaga, passing the gifted ball into the back of the net.
His goal away at Atalanta showcased his composure from challenging positions as he chipped the keeper from a relatively tight angle, while his opener against Everton was a reminder of how dangerous he can be even when seemingly off-balance.
The turn and finish against Palace at the weekend, though, perhaps best showcases Mané’s technical skill, lethal finish, and the organized chaos of his movement. Just an absolute joy to watch, isn’t he?
Xherdan Shaqiri (one goal)
Shaqiri has showed promise every time he’s been on the pitch this season, surely making the manager truly feel his loss from injury. He scored his sole goal for Liverpool this season away at Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup (hey, strategic masterclass we’re not playing in that this week and can have a breather instead, isn’t it?), putting in a free kick off the crossbar.
Alongside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, his return from injury will be a major positive addition to the depth on the bench.
Curtis Jones (three goals)
Jones scored the third and fourth in the demolition of Lincoln City — now the third game this season where Liverpool either scored or conceded seven.
His third goal in 2020/21 is his showpiece, however: the teenager scored the goal against Ajax that sent Liverpool through at the top of Group D, connecting with an overhit Neco Williams ball in to emphasize both his technical skill (not an easy angle to score from, that) and his work rate (Mané, the other Liverpool player in for the ball, had a face full of disappointment at the missed chance; meanwhile his teammate chased it down and put it in the net).
Jones has been given more minutes than he would have expected thus far this season, and he’s seized these chances to cement himself as a first team player in Liverpool’s midfield — on and off the scoresheet.
Marko Grujic (one goal)
Look, he’s on loan to Porto this season but he still had time to score against Lincoln while in the shop window, netting a low, driven long-range effort from a poor clearance. The seventh different Liverpool player to score in 2020/21.
Divock Origi (one goal)
The Belgian hasn’t been as involved as he would like this season, but he did manage to bag one of his late goals (he loves a late goal) against Lincoln, putting in the seventh goal in the final minute. Not as dramatic as we’re accustomed to, but he’ll hope to contribute more as the season progresses.
Andy Robertson (one goal)
Robbo took a break from assisting (he’s on five assists this season: the most in the squad, as Trent Alexander-Arnold runs him close on four) to notch in a left-footed shot against Arsenal in the Premier League. It was a well-finished shot from inside the box, clipped in with the outside of his boot after a poor touch almost let the Arsenal defenders close him down. He’ll be gutted that his mate Trent got the assist, though a defender assisting a defender is, for the coaches, the ideal Liverpool goal.
Though it’s not a goal, it’s worth highlighting his sublime assist to Roberto Firmino against Crystal Palace, as he showcased his development in a red shirt: rather than simply aiming to put crosses into good areas, his target is to “pass” his crosses in to specific players, and did he ever.
Diogo Jota (nine[!!!!] goals)
When Jota scored the team’s third goal against Arsenal in September, opening his Liverpool account, few would have expected him to quickly progress into DioGOAL Jota, who scores when he wants. The player brought in from Wolves to allow for rotation in the front three quickly progressed to reach second in the goal-scoring charts, having scored nine goals in 17 appearances (and outscoring his xG of 5.6).
Much like Van Dijk’s first goal for Liverpool, which came in his first appearance (and against Everton), Jota’s goal-scoring form quickly silenced those who suggested his initial £41 million transfer fee was quite steep for his apparent quality.
Though he’s currently on the lengthy injury list, he’s left a set of highlights that will have fans clamoring for his return. Much like Salah, he’s scored a full variety of goals, including with his head (Liverpool loves a short forward with a good header), proving to be a danger from any area.
His goal against Brighton is perhaps amongst his most impressive, as he dribbled across the edge of the box, causing seemingly the entire Brighton defense to give chase, before cheekily passing the ball back across into the left-hand corner of the net.
His glancing header against Leicester, though, showcased his smart runs (and Andy Robertson’s pinpoint crossing), while his goal against Atalanta showed how a player could honor the memory of [redacted name of deceased footballer used by the tabloid press] by staying up and scoring anyway despite being fouled quite clearly in the box.
Watching his highlight reel should be done with caution: it will make you urgently want him back.
Roberto Firmino (five goals)
Remember when Bobby just could not put a chance away (to be fair, unless it was a goal that would bring a trophy home from Qatar)? Gone are those days, as he’s scored five already — half of his 2019/20 total — and looks to be playing with real joy again.
He opened his account at home (!!!) against Sheffield United, but his goals against Palace at the weekend really speak to prime Bobby Firmino, scoring when he has absolutely no right to score (just ask Curtis Jones and Jürgen Klopp how they felt about Bobby’s cheeky chipped effort).
His standout goal thus far this season has to be the late winner against Tottenham, though. I honestly don’t remember the goal itself, you know, but my word did his celebration remind us of why it’s lovely to have fans back in — absolutely sprinted down the length of the pitch with his teeth just all shiny and splendid, didn’t he?
Gini Wijnaldum (one goal)
Wijnaldum decided to have a break from his normal grafting role to absolutely punish Wolverhampton Wanderers for giving him space and time on the ball (in an area he had no right to score from, to be fair). Gini just went ahead and put it in the top corner without breaking a sweat because he’s a selfless fella and knew that the fans, newly back in Anfield, deserved loads of goals to celebrate.
Joël Matip (one goal, 23 hilarious faces)
Matip got on the end of a Salah corner to score the third goal against Wolves at home, highlighting his aerial prowess in attack as well as in defense.
He has come in and hasn’t put a foot wrong whenever he’s been on the pitch this season, reminding fans that it’s his availability issues, not his skill-set, that allowed Joe Gomez to pick up the shirt.
Jordan Henderson (one goal)
The skipper stepped up to score the fourth goal in the demolition of Crystal Palace, becoming Liverpool’s fourteenth different goalscorer in the 2020/21 season. His goal showcased his versatility, as he made a late attacking run to get on the end of a simple layoff from Alexander-Arnold, smashing the ball home, while spending most of his time shoring up the side defensively and allowing the fullbacks space to push forward.
Then he put on a suit and popped across the M62 to be named runner-up in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year and to collect the Team of the Year Award, showing those in Manchester what it’s like to collect silverware (to paraphrase Klopp). Not a bad few days for the captain of the Champions of England.
BONUS: Manchester United’s Jonny Evans (one goal)
Absolutely phenomenal goal scored by Jonny Evans, now at Leicester City, for Liverpool Football Club. Unsaveable header. 10/10.
Alright then, which is the best goal the Reds have scored so far?
Best goal scored in the first third of the season:
This poll is closed
Sadio Mané vs. Crystal Palace
Curtis Jones vs. Ajax
Diogo Jota vs. Brighton
Bobby Firmino vs. Tottenham
Other (specify in the comments)