Keep winning, just keep winning
With the other “Top 6” teams constantly losing points in games they are expected to win, the season is already shaping up to be a repeat of last year with Liverpool and Manchester City performing at a level well above the rest. These teams have raised the bar to a height where 3 points each game is a must to stay in the race. I remember the days when a draw from a tough away game was not a disastrous score. Burnley has always been a tough place to play with their physical style but the Reds took care of business with a comfortable scoreline. There were some scares here and there but it all seemed to go according to plan and the winning streak is now a record high 13 games. 4 wins out of 4 games to start the season is the best we can do and the team has done it. A clean sheet was a nice bonus and now we can enjoy being top of the league and just hope to avoid any injuries over the international break.
Blue Collar Victory
The midfield against Burnley had to reflect the opponent’s style. I know this midfield gets a lot of criticism regarding their lack of creativity and I do agree that they are not the most attack-minded midfield. Having said that, they do not need to be when you have our front three. Tthis midfield also protects the backline, enabling Robbo and TAA to push forward. It was only natural to have a midfield of Hendo, Gini, and Fabinho start against Burnley. The three won the physical battle in midfield time and time again. Fabinho was great as he settles in more and more while I get tired from just watching Henderson and Gini run in midfield. Henderson might not be the most creative player but he is very good at switching fields forcing the opposing defense to shift which creates openings. The midfield did their hard work today which gave Liverpool the upper hand throughout the game.
The Selfish Forward(s)
Perhaps the only blemish of the game was Mane’s reaction once he was on the bench right after a situation where Mo clearly could have set him up for a goal. Unfortunate not because I think it is a big deal but only due to giving the media something so yack about during the international break. I saw a lot of fans celebrating the Aguero/Pep argument on the sideline, seeing it as signs of chinks in the armor. Just like I thought that was an exaggeration, I think this was a simple heat of the moment incident as well. Should Mo have passed that ball? Hell yeah, it was the natural progression of a beautiful play which would set up Mane for an easy finish. Did Mo try to freeze the defense as they would have expected that natural flow of passing or was he just being selfish? We cannot be in his head so impossible to tell. It is a striker’s mentality to want to have every shot and goal. It is that ambition and belief in their scoring quality that makes them lethal. I can recall quite a few incidents when Mane did not make the simple pass to set up a tap in goal but went for the shot himself.
Not sure if it is my optimism but I really think this is a non-issue. Mo probably realizes his mistake as sometimes you know it the moment you do it in a game. He most definitely will when he watches the tape. I just hope it is not something that stays in the back of their mind next time they get an opportunity to shoot. Knowing these two and their overall killer instinct, I do not feel it will. Klopp is a great at man-management and I think it will be handled. Like Klopp said : “We will clarify it in the dressing room”. Love me some Klopp!
Another solid outing for Adrian
Adrian quietly gets his clean sheet in a game where he made a huge save right in the beginning and was in control throughout the game. He is not as good with his ball distribution and does not command the box as well during corners like Alisson, but not a lot of goalies do. He has definitely quieted his doubters and has performed well overall. Not having the baggage that Mignolet would bring into games definitely helps his cause and seems like he has learned from his mistake against Southampton. As we find out about the story behind his signing and how Liverpool made sure that their man would be available when Mignolet was sold shows how well our club is being run at the moment.
Matip in great form
Matip is solidifying his spot as the #2 CB, As much as I think Gomez is the future in that position, hard not to appreciate the strides Matip has made in his game and how he has performed. Since taking over from Gomez after Joe’s injury last time we were at Turf Moor, Matip has shown that he has all the required skills of a CB in this system. He is very comfortable with the ball in his feet and is forming a great partnership with VVD. With Robbo and Trent pushing up, we are counting on our centrebacks to play a lot of one on one football with some of the world’s best in the Premier League. This is even more challenging with the higher line we are playing this year but Matip shows that his speed and versatility, he is up for the task. The Lovren debacle will reach a conclusion later in the next few days. While I think we should keep him as more of an insurance policy, it looks like it will be very hard for him to earn a spot on this team. Fair play to Matip for continuing to work and make most of his opportunity.