It wasn’t pretty but Liverpool did the business early in the afternoon to put the rest of the Premier League on notice with a 3-1 victory over Wolves. It sure seems like every visit to the Molineux Stadium is a bit nervy for Jurgen Klopp’s men, but the taste of victory is so sweet. Following the lead of their star man Mo Salah and captain Andy Robertson, the Reds did the business and can sit top of the league, at least for a little while. 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
It’s just crazy what we get to witness on a weekly basis. The magical has become routine with Salah. We’re just so incredibly lucky to be alive on this spinning space rock at the same time he puts on a Red shirt a couple of times a week.
Technically, he only gets credit for two assists because the third goal gets ruled an own goal, but we know in our hearts that he had a hat trick of assists today. He must’ve gotten bored of scoring and just decided to be the best playmaker in the league.
A week ago honest to god pundits were saying Liverpool would be better off selling him to Saudi Arabia. They were going on tv and writing columns on the world wide web about how the money would be better invested in the future. Insanity. Give him a life time contract. I don’t care. He can play here until he’s 60 for all I care.
Second half substitutes
We’ll discuss how bad the first half was in a bit, but the second half was as good as anything we’ve seen from peak Liverpool over the years. The players deserve praise for the hard work they put in and the manger deserves credit for the changes he made to give the team a chance to win. Jurgen Klopp told the TV interviewer after the game that they switched formations and tactics in the second half. At times it was a bit 4-4-2, 4-2-2-2, and 4-2-3-1 all at once. The subs made a world of difference as well.
Harvey Elliott, Darwin Nunez, and Luis Diaz completely changed the complexity of the second half. Before those three came on, Liverpool were too passive in possession. Those three came on, ratcheted up the intensity, and helped the Reds win the game.
The young centerback was excellent today in his Premier League starting debut. With Trent Alexander-Arnold injured and Virgil van Dijk suspended, Liverpool’s backline options required Quansah to start at CB with Joe Gomez playing rightback. Quansah didn’t look out of place at all and was the better of the two in the pairing with Joel Matip.
A lot of fans were wanting Liverpool to sign a central defender this summer, but if Quansah can be the fifth option like he was today, he might save the Reds a lot of money.
Early Kickoff Time Curse
Much has been made about Liverpool’s record in the 12:30pm kickoff slot. Last season, of course, they were 0-3-3 in the early kickoff window. That curse is already broken with the performance from today. The TV executives will continue to pick Liverpool in that timeslot because of their popularity in Asia, so if the Reds can play like they did today, the better it is for everyone.
First half woes
The first half was miserable, but it feels good to say that after a win. You can blame the early kickoff time after an international break, but the manager made some bizarre selections and the setup was all wrong. It was a really strange decision from the referee to give Alexis Mac Allister a yellow card so early in the game, but it was an even more strange for Klopp to pick him in the starting eleven to begin with. The system also had Gomez inverting as the RB, which didn’t work at all.
Thankfully half-time exists and the manager righted all of his first half wrongs.
What Happens Next
We’re in strange territory with the Reds playing in the Europa League. It will be interesting to see what Klopp does on Thursday night against LASK. Group think seems set on Liverpool rotating heavily, but I’m not so sure of that myself. The Austrians are probably the second best team in this group and the Reds need to win the group. Finishing second in the group stage in Europa means you play one of the 3rd place teams from the Champions League groups. That would be very bad.
I would not be surprise to see Klopp go really strong on Thursday. Virgil van Dijk hasn’t played a competitive match for Liverpool since his red card against Newcastle. I think he’ll captain the side on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp’s tricky reds sit top of the table (for now). What a win. Up the Reds.