5 Talking Points from Liverpool vs Sheffield United
Three points gained
Liverpool was far from their best but managed to get the three points. Title winning teams get three points even when playing poorly and these Reds know how to get what they want out of each game. An early game is tough especially when away in a hostile environment and the Reds had to give a mature performance to get what they wanted. Performance was well below what are used to but there are no easy games in the Premier League and nothing is won on paper especially when playing away from home. It takes a tough mentality and a winning attitude to get the job done and hang on for the win. Liverpool needed some luck as well today and a goalkeeper error brought the three points. The winning streak of the season as well as the record-breaking Premier League win streak for the club continues. This will only give this team more confidence going forward in other tough fixtures.
Origi with the spark
Origi’s introduction to the game was a turning point. He was very direct with the ball, using his size and speed to cause problems for Sheffield United. Origi is a young player who has the physical traits to be a huge threat. At times he does not use his size as well as he should but today was definitely an exception. He was involved in the attacking press, winning air balls and being a nuisance that Sheffield United had to deal with.
Klopp takes early action
A normally patient Jurgen Klopp knew that changes had to be made. Liverpool did not create the chances they needed to turn the game around and was clearly lacking the creativity to open up a well-drilled Sheffield defense. The move to bring in Origi and change the formation enabled Bobby to be that creative force in the middle. The change of formation disrupted an opponent that was getting comfortable with the flow of the game. We are not used to seeing Klopp make radical changes to the formation as he preaches patience and persistence with the gameplan. Kudos to him for showing that he is not afraid to make changes when he feels that they are necessary to get what we want from the game.
The need for creativity in midfield
Liverpool’s offense relies on the movement of the front three and balls coming from the wings via TAA and Robbo. On a day where the front three failed to find the space they needed and were not able to connect as they normally do, Liverpool needed better deliveries from the wide players. While they performed well defensively, both Robertson and Trent were well below their usual efficiency going forward. While the Reds enjoyed long spells of possession, it was not enough to create chances. These are games where Liverpool can use an in form Keita to create space with his movement on the ball. While the midfield worked hard all game to win the ball and control the center of the field, the trio lacks the creativity which becomes more apparent when the usual attacking options fail to deliver. With no Keita or Shaq available to come in the game, Klopp was able to use Bobby as this player while Origi filled in admirably on the wing as we touched on earlier. There will be more games like this ahead of us this season and Liverpool will need Keita, Shaq, and Ox to provide crucial goals and assists.
The CB show
During a post-match interview after the Chelsea game, Klopp admitted that he was OK to pick his poison by letting the opponent send crosses into the box and relying on the centerbacks to do their job by clearing the ball. A week after clearing countless crosses into the box, the two were called into action again today. Matip was not only great defensively, but he was also at one point our best playmaker with his passing between the lines to open players like Gini and Mane. VVD did not have a great passing game except a beauty to Mane but the CB duo has been extremely impressive. Towering over all the balls entering the box, making timely interceptions while keeping possession, it is a joy to watch them perform at a high level every week.