Back to winning ways
Two disappointing results created a lot of doubt in some fans while worrying others. This win should calm some nerves especially in the manner it was achieved. A clean sheet with a dominating performance is exactly what the Reds needed and perhaps we were lucky to have the ideal opponent to face for this game. Bournemouth just was not good enough to close down the spaces and seemed to be a step behind all the time. Prior to the game, if I was able to pick three teams to face to help us get back on track, Bournemouth would definitely be one of them. Liverpool capitalized in a big way, playing their best football in weeks and created twice more than the three goals they scored.
Gini was the missing piece
With two new midfielders joining the team in 2019, most thought that Gini would be a squad player at best and be able to provide depth. He responded in a big way by becoming our most consistent midfielder who is effective playing both sides of the game. Our struggles in the recent couple of games is partially due to missing him in midfield. He is not a flashy player by any means and his game play might not make the best YouTube videos but he is the driving force of our midfield. He keeps us on the attack by chasing down the second balls and helping us retain possession, and by controlling the ball when we are attacking. His finish in the second goal was world class and might be the start of his Youtube video after all. Regardless of who you put in your ideal midfield trio, I am positive that the majority of them will have Gini as part of that midfield. He was sorely missed and his gameplay clearly showed why.
Anfield is back to full voice
On our podcast as well as my post after the Leicester game, I talked in length about how Anfield needs to help the team and not put added pressure on them. Heck, I even pulled a Cozzy and strayed off my PG vocabulary. I assume I was not the only one who got that vibe and it even prompted Klopp to call for unity to get the job done, sending a message to the fans. Anfield responded with full voice support throughout the game. The play on the field sure helped the cause with goals coming in the first half and the Reds essentially sealing the deal by scoring the third goal in the early minutes of the second half. This will be key down the stretch in our title challenge as well as establishing another long run in the Champions League. Anfield has to be behind the team regardless of play on the field and the current scoreline. Our play style that is based on high energy levels and some of that has to come from the enthusiasm of the stadium. Mission accomplished for this game but will need a lot more of it starting with the game against Bayern.
Keita has his best performance of the year
Keita had some decent outings before, showing flashes of what he brings especially in terms of his technical ability. With his recent performances of varying levels, Keita has almost taken over the most polarizing player award from Henderson. This game was definitely his best performance in the Premier League to date. He won several balls in midfield, was influential in two of the three goals by not having the final assist, but by bringing the ball down to Milner in the first, and passing the perfect ball to the running path of Firmino in the third goal. Those passes definitely helped the scoreline but more importantly will help Keita’s confidence. Even Klopp agrees that Keita needs to build back his confidence to show his true self. I still think Keita is an important piece of the midfield especially when we face teams who are focused on defending by sitting back but has a lot of room to improve his physical game . I think we still will have to wait until next year to see the real Keita who will be the first one to be penciled in to the midfield starters as he gets stronger and more importantly more familiar with our play.
Salah is a true leader
One of the talking points of last week was the need for leadership for the Reds to get out of their recent struggles. I mentioned some names and now see that I failed to see Salah as one of the names who can take on that role through his play. He played hungry, looking to create from the very beginning. His field vision makes him a huge threat as he has demonstrated his willingness to create for others making him a very difficult player to defend. Liverpool will need his leadership up front and his willingness to take on responsibility. It was great to see him take on that role with no hesitation and be a menace to Bournemouth the entire game.