Match Preview GW 2
What a first half by a team expected to be challenging for top spot again this year. Even though we looked in second gear, it was ultra fluid as we washed aside the Norwich defense with every attack. The passing and the finishing talents were on full display on Friday and Trent’s pass to Origi was the pick of the bunch. Despite the foot coming off the gas in the second half, the team looks sharp for the first week and once Mane integrates back to full fitness, we should be flying again this year.
The travel and length of the mid-week game so early in the season will be the true opponent as the Reds take on Southampton on Saturday. Supporters are sure we will see a depleted team at the weekend. With many agreeing that more than a few youngsters will get their chance to impress. Southampton away is a venue that has caused us problems in the past and I expect it to be no different here.
The positive is that the kids have a real opportunity to prove they have a future here. If they can take 3 points in the process, all the better. Should the title race involve Liverpool again this year, and come down to the final game, this could be one we talk about. For better or for worse, we go again!
Word on the Street
Across the Fence
Southampton the Speed Bump
As stated above, 7,000 miles, two 9 hour flights, 120 minutes, and an 88 degree night in Istanbul has probably given Southampton the best chance to beat Liverpool that they’ll ever get. With the majority of the main team playing the full 90, the jet lag and Super Cup celebration won’t help their weekend game preparation much.
Many fans are assuming we could see a young and inexperienced team at the weekend. This would make sense as Klopp has needed a good excuse to field some of the youngsters, to prove they have a future at the club. The Saints will be doubly spurred by the fact that they were whacked by a tepid Burnley last week. They will be looking to bounce back with a famous win against the best team in the league.
Supporters are split with almost every aspect of this game: the line up, the outcome, and even what it means if we do lose this one. The calming words I have for those of us who are nervous is, the game can only be played during the 90 mins. Take a deep breath and have faith.
Ox’s Road to Recovery and Firmino’s Value
It’s something that we’ve spoken about at nausea, but Bobby Firmino is an irreplaceable piece in Liverpool’s incredibly potent attack. Even with 2 of the 3 musketeers, Klopp’s men looked dead in the water. It could have been due to the Red’s midfield not providing the connection needed to link defense and attack, but I think there was a piece missing.
Oxlade-Chamberlain did not drop into the center of the park to open space, provide a one-two, or even assist in high pressing the way Bobby does on a weekly basis. This is as much of a curse to the team as it is a gem, since Firmino needs ample time to rest and recover every now and again. Where they will find his relief from I don’t know.
Get Your Head in the Game
What I do know is that Alex will eventually come good. The Super Cup Final was his first start in a long time and although it ended quicker than he would have liked to, he will come good. Remember he was playing out of position in many respects as well. The other issue is that injuries such as his are long term with a slow recovery. Knowing the limitations the knee has and the lack of movement is as much of a ligament healing process as it is a mental healing process. He’s fully fit physically, but it will take some time to mentally return to his previous confidence in his body’s ability.
Some of the older fans might remember Lucas Levia’s knee injury back in 2011 against Chelsea. After a tough start to life at Anfield, Lucas was just starting to come good. The injury took him forever to overcome, but once he felt himself again, he cemented himself as a Liverpool hero. Red supporters shouldn’t fear too much, it’s only a matter of time before we witness The Ox hit another Man City screamer.
Concur and Conquer
Our Keeper’s a Keeper
Adrian had to make his Liverpool debut much earlier than anticipated in game week one. Alisson went down with a calf injury 39 minutes into the season and Klopp had to call on his new reserve keeper. Although he would have undoubtedly been upset that he failed to keep the clean sheet, he will be buzzing that he made a few great saves.
This was not the defining moment for his Anfield career however. As the Super Cup wore on he was called on time and time again as an uncharacteristically porous defense allowed a Chelsea onslaught. He was almost turned villain as an extremely weak penalty decision was awarded against us. Due, in part, to his over enthusiastic attempt to stop Tammy Abraham. The penalty was converted and Chelsea tied the game in extra time. As we all know, he made the penalty stop to win the club’s fourth Super Cup and took us above United in trophy count. Something Liverpool supporters won’t soon forget.
Adrian’s performance proved we finally have a solid goalkeeper pairing. As sure as Alisson’s starting spot was last year, he won’t see as many games as he did last year. While I doubt a calf injury will stop him from being our first choice and Europe’s best keeper, he can comfortably be rested if he needs it. I’m sure this is music to everyone’s ears as keeper injuries won’t derail our season.
Back on Our F**king Perch
The Super Cup victory took Liverpool above Manchester United for the most decorated club in English football. The only thing that would make this any sweeter is if Sir Fergie were still at the helm of the United train wreck. The songs the Kop would hurl at him when he stepped into Anfield would be ultra glorious. We are quite possibly the greatest team in the world. Enough said.
What do you think? Let me know. Have your say below.