That was quick!!!
If Anfield had any concerns about opening up a tight Huddersfield defense, they disappeared 15 seconds into the game. Keita’s lightning fast sprint to pressure won the ball for the Reds and Salah rewarded Keita by rolling the ball onto his path which Keita finished with accuracy, resulting in Liverpool’s fastest goal in Premier League.
Reds were almost caught off guard themselves with the early goal when they struggled to gain control in the first 10 minutes but an early goal is exactly what the team needed to an easy win. Once the second goal was scored, there was not doubt of the three points. No injuries, five goals, great performances throughout, clean sheet, Ox back on the field… It was one to enjoy leaning back on the couch.
Last time for Sturridge
Extremely disappointing to watch perhaps Dniel’s last game at Anfield. Looking at his performance and overall play, in some ways, hopefully it was the last time.
Lee Dixon said it best in his commentary. Looked like Sturridge was playing for another team. A player’s pace or crispness of passes might be off with playing time but it was Daniel’s decision making, not playing the easy ball that made it frustrating.
As fans who watch every game, even we know what the next pass is at times. We know which ball should be played as we have become accustomed to it. More importantly, the success of that style of play is proven so it definitely is the right way for us to play. It looked like Sturridge has not been watching these games from the bench as closely as we have. He chose to keep the ball several times instead of playing the easy pass in to the path of players like Mane, Robertson, and Trent. Those were passes you knew would be made if Bobby was playing.
Sturridge has been a great player and has given some great moments to Liverpool but his time at the club will surely come to an end at the end of the season. His style and play clearly do not fit our current system. If he can stay healthy, he can continue to produce some key moments for a mid-table team but he clearly does not have the pace of play and work rate for a top team at the moment
Ox is back!
Aside from enjoying the goals and being able to watch a game leaning back on the couch, the best moment of the game was seeing Ox back on the field. He immediately showed what he can bring as well. Keita is gaining his form in the right time and I think it will be a tough competition between those two when it comes to playing the attacking midfielder role.
Henderson & Keita are dynamic in the middle
The depth of our midfield is really shining through at the end of the season. Henderson relishing in his new role, Keita getting more and more comfortable, Fabinho’s solid performances as holding midfielder seem to be forming our ideal midfield at the moment but based on the opponent we play, you can always make a case for Gini, Milner, Lallana, and now Ox.
Keita and Henderson seem to have the upper hand though as they should. Both are tireless in midfield and contributing to the scoring via creating turnovers, assists, and scoring. Henderson has now made 5 goal contributions in his last six appearances (in all competitions) and is showing why he is so valuable to this team. His haters are nowhere to be seen online, some even starting to change their tune. Keita much like Henderson does a lot off the ball and is also becoming a scoring threat regularly. A few months ago, the internet was filled with fans giving up on him after less than one full season. It is becoming more and more clear that it takes a while to get adjusted to our style of play and fans have to be patient with players getting comfortable with it. Keita seems to be getting there and the midfield depth could be a key over the next week with two games against Barcelona with a very important away game at Newcastle in between.
Pressure back on City
Burnley might not have the power of the name of Manchester United but they are clearly a better team at the moment in terms of quality of play and effort given on the field. Turf Moor is a tough place to play at against a very physical Burnley team and perhaps this is the toughest obstacle City has to face in the last three fixtures.
Can Burnley do what United could not? Liverpool is definitely playing their part by bagging the three points, regaining the top spot in the league and putting the pressure back on City. With no Champions League games to worry about, City has regained the fixture advantage. It will be interesting to see if Burnley can continue their great form at home and especially against City.