5 Talking points from Liverpool vs Bayern
A huge win for this season and beyond
The Premier League title is probably the most important for most fans, including myself. I did not agree with the notion that getting eliminated from the Champions League would increase our chances in the league especially with only 8 games remaining. Building the squad depth was to be able to compete in multiple competitions. This is just not the EFL cup that we should not be concerned about, it is the top competition in club football.
This game was important in rebuilding the Liverpool brand and show that last year was not a fluke. It was a way to continue bringing income to bring more top players in the future and being able to offer those players a place to come for continued Champions League success. It is very clear that Champions League football is a big attraction for bringing in players and within a few years, the Red have become a team that was doubtful to qualify for the tournament to being one of the regular top contenders. This is a huge step in continuing to build a powerhouse for years to come by guaranteeing the income as well as being able to show the ability to bring down top clubs in the world.
Role reversal for Mane and Salah
There was a time last year when Salah could do no wrong. Every touch he had was dead on, every shot on target, every bounce going his way. Mane would be a quality player who is able to create and pose a threat but just did not have that magic Mo had causing at times to force things, even aggravating some fans with his lack of passing in crucial situations. He was trying to get himself out of the funk and go back to free flowing and scoring form.
Spring 2019 seems to bring us the reversal. Mane is in form with magic touches throughout the game and scoring at will while Salah plays more the creator and struggles to find his finishing touch. We now see Mo at times forcing shots, ignoring the simple passes needed to create something more special.
This is not to say the Salah is not having a good year just like Mane did not have a bad year last year. Players’ form will dip and fluctuate. Key is to be able to keep the machine running even when not everyone is not in top form and players showing fight throughout the game so they are making an impact in the final score even if it is not with goals. Salah was the perfect example of this yesterday. He had a great assist in the third goal and his defensive work was outstanding. Several times, he was back helping Trent cover Ribery and Alaba.
I think this is what makes this squad special and likable. They play their hearts out regardless of their individual success as they know that each small contribution they make plays a part in the bigger picture.
Squad depth makes a huge difference
Henderson’s injury was concerning. Not only it caused an early substitution in a game that could have gone to overtime, it meant we might need to change how we planned on doing things.
The depth of the squad this year showed its value in a crucial game. Being able to bring in a player like Fabinho would have only been a dream last year when we struggled to get a quality eleven on the field. The bench had plenty of quality options to bring in despite injuries to players like Keita and Ox. This is the path that Liverpool will have to keep following to form a squad capable of competing in several competitions. As I mentioned above, the progress in the Champions League is key to accomplishing this goal by providing the revenues needed as well as increasing the overall appeal of the club.
Robertson struggles but his absence will be concerning
Gnabry was able to get in Robertson’s head in the first game and it showed in this game as well. Robertson was afraid of Gnabry’s pace and continued to struggle. While his runs forward posed problems for Bayern, Robertson seemed uneasy the entire game. He lost Gnabry in the game as he was also concerned with him coming back to get the ball. I think it was just a bad matchup for him overall. His yellow card in the last minute could prove to be costly as he will miss the first game in the quarter finals. Even in a matchup he was having a tough time in, Robertson’s workrate makes him very valuable on the field. Not to mention, I am very confident in saying that there is not one Reds fan out there who would be comfortable with Moreno starting a Champions League game regardless of who it is against.
Champions League became the FA cup with a few guests
The biggest knock on the Premier League was the lack of European success for its teams. How can it be the best league in the team when its best teams cannot perform against top teams in other leagues? The Premier League has 4 teams left in the last 8 this year making the draw for quarters finals feel more like a FA cup draw. If by some chance two of them do not matchup against each other in this round, it is very possible to have 3 or 4 of them in the semifinals especially since they would be in some favorable matchups against teams like Ajax and Porto.