It was an almost impossibly long break away from this Liverpool side. There’s something about winning week-in and week-out that just makes you want to keep watching. And like they have so many times before, they kept going until they found a moment of magic. And boy did they find it. Another 1-goal win. On the road. Under testing conditions. Ho-hum. No big deal. Just kidding, this is a ridiculously big deal. 26 played. 25 wins. 1 draw. 5 wins awayt from a guaranteed title.
The Goalkeepers Union: Alisson Becker and Tim Krul both came up huge during the match. Alisson’s first half intervention, in particular, was a stunning piece of goalkeeping, denying Norwich City a chance at an open goal during one of their few dangerous forays into Liverpool territory. Krul also did exceptionally well to deny Naby Keita at point-blank range. Luckily (for Liverpool), Krul could not equal Sadio Mane’s brilliant finish. Which, speaking of...
Sadio Mane: Did we miss the Senegalese winger during his injury spell? Did we ever! Although Liverpool have manged to continue racking up wins, that very well might have not continued today without Mane’s late heroics. The amazing thing about Mane—the thing that separates him from other mere mortals—is his ability to change the game out of nowhere. He made his emphatic return with one of the goals of the season so far. Frankly, I’m still not sure how he plucked that ball out of the sky in such heavy traffic, and I’m even less sure about how he finished from that angle.
The Fight For Top
Four Five: This has nothing to do with this match. Hell, it’s none of Liverpool’s concern. But I just wanted to point out how there’s suddenly a race for the last Champions League spot, which basically hasn’t been the case all season. Unluckyyyy Manchester City.
Storm Dennis: Any stronger and the Premier League might have postponed matches once again. Any weaker, and we might have actually gotten a better match. The wind was strong enough to have a visible impact on the match, leading to a rather messy and chaotic affair. It only served to exacerbate the lack of rhythm that Liverpool frequently show after a lengthy break in action.
Ox in the Box: Or rather, in the attacking trio of forwards. He has managed to “do a job” there over the past several weeks, but filling in for Sadio is going to be a big ask for anyone, even someone as obviously talented as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Hopefully with Mane back, Ox can return to the midfield, where he has proven a devastating threat as a fourth runner from deep.
Giving Credit to the Opponent
I don’t generally get too sad over relegated sides. Hell, for the Stokes and West Broms of the world, I’m popping the champagne. However, I will genuinely miss Norwich City. They’ve been a breath of fresh air, playing with a recognizable and fearless attacking style. At no point have they decided to go “pragmatic” and try to minimize damage against sides. That even includes against the best sides, including Liverpool tonight. They made it hard work for the Reds, and they managed to create a few nervy moments along the way. Now, they’ll go down—and deserve it—but it will be one of the most glorious failures we’ve seen in some time in the top flight.
What Happens Next
The Champions League resumes on Tuesday night, away to Atletico Madrid. Considering Liverpool’s ridiculously strong position in the league, they’ll want to have yet another go at Ol’ Big Ears. Liverpool will have good memories at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, but they won’t have time to reminisce. Atletico aren’t the force they were a few seasons ago when they made the pair of Champions League finals, but their defense is as stout as ever, allowing just 17 goals in their 24 league matches.
Then Liverpool get nearly a week before welcoming David Moyes back to Anfield—a stadium where he has never won—when West Ham come to town the following Monday.