It doesn’t feel the same. We’ll get to that in a second. It doesn’t feel the same, but it is what we’re used to. Liverpool winning 1-0 against a difficult side during the run in. Of course, it doesn’t feel the same because it’s not the same. We’re used to seeing this Liverpool team play for titles in May.
That, for obvious reasons, isn’t happening right now. This is a team fighting for its life and for its future. It’s a team that hasn’t been good enough but knows how good they are and how good they want to be. That’s what a 1-0 win over Brentford in the fourth to last match of the season means. They need some help tomorrow and in the coming weeks, but all we’ve wanted from them all year is to control the things they are capable of controlling. Six straight wins shows a pulse. It’s a sign of life. Do you feel it? Can you see it?
To a man, everyone can do better but everyone does enough. Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez should take their chances better. Fabinho and Virgil van Dijk take yellow cards from a referee happy to give them. Ibrahima Konaté and Trent Alexander-Arnold work hard defensively because they know the size of the target on their backs with this new system. It’s tough work, but it’s enough work. That’s what the 1-0 win means.
Now join us as we examine some of the narratives, tactics, reactions, and questions Liverpool will be dealing with and the fans will be talking about in the aftermath.
Winners and Losers
Defending as a platform
You probably felt uneasy throughout the 90 minutes. Most 1-0 wins don’t feel good while they’re happening, but let me tell you about how good Liverpool defended today. Brentford had scored 15 goals this season from set piece situations. That’s good enough for fourth in the league, so far. Between the fouls and the corner kicks, Brentford had 22 restart opportunities against Liverpool. They only created 0.19 xG. Their lowest total in their PL history. Even the manager pointed out to Sky Sports after the game that it was the best set piece defending he’s seen.
Mo Salah, Mo Salah, Mo Salah
Mo Salah scored in the 13th minute to put Liverpool up 1-0. That goal was good enough to be the winning goal on the day, but here’s what else that goal accomplished:
- 30th goal in all comps this season. Salah is only the 4th player ever to score 30+ goals in 3 consecutive seasons. Roger Hunt, Ian Rush, and Robbie Fowler are the others.
- Moved to joint-fifth place on Liverpool’s all-time goal scorers list. Tied with Steven Gerrard at 186.
- 100th goal at Anfield. Only eight players have ever done that.
Not bad for a player having, allegedly, a bad season.
Anthony Taylor, a bald referee from the Greater Manchester Area
He was very bad today. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.
Potential injury to Andy Robertson
Late in the second half Robertson was subbed off with an apparent hip injury. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.
What Happens Next?
Liverpool have 3 games remaining in the 2022/23 Premier League season. There is a chance they finish top 4, but they’ll need a lot of help. If Liverpool win their remaining 3 matches, they’ll finish on 71 points. They need either Newcastle or Manchester United to finish with fewer than that, if they don’t want goal differential to come into play. Problem is, both Newcastle and United have games in hand. Newcastle can finish on 80 points max and ManU can finish on 78 points max. So, they need to drop some points in their five remaining league games (including the matches both play tomorrow). Here is a handy little chart of the remaining fixtures.
most likely realistic easiest to hope for situation is that Manchester United drop seven points out of their remaining five matches. If they tie Liverpool on points, the Reds would surely beat out Manchester United on goal differential. Anyways, the chances are slim. It could be too late. But there are chances.
Up the Reds.