5 Talking Points from Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Winning Mentality

Regardless of the sport, some teams always find a way to lose, and winning teams find a way to get the win at the end of the day. This is true in the Premier League, NFL, NBA, and others. You can look at a score at half time and still know a team will find a way to lose while you can bet on others finding a way to win.

We are lucky enough to have a team that has the winning mentality. Liverpool has the confidence to know they will somehow win the game and this enables them to have a mature approach to every challenge they face. This is the same team that beat Barcelona 4-0 at home after everyone including most fans wrote them off. When you accomplish a task like that, it is easy to believe that anything is possible if you fully commit to accomplishing that goal. This is something Klopp has created by instilling confidence in his players and making them believe in themselves. When you win in the dying minutes of one game, it might be luck.. Two? Maybe.. When you consistently do it, it is not luck but a mindset that helps you accomplish your goals regardless of the situation. 

The bench making an impact regularly

Fans wanted to have a squad that had great talent on the field and a bench full of players who can make an impact when called upon. Well, the recent weeks have shown that the Reds finally have a bench that can change the flow of the game and have an impact on the final score. Even with Fabinho being benched to avoid a 5th yellow card, Liverpool had players like Ox, Keita, Origi, and Milner to be able to come in and contribute to the game. Our squad is definitely not as deep in quality as City but the gap has definitely diminished over the last two seasons and Klopp has the ability to impact the game with substitutions.

Lallana shows his value

There is no official depth chart in football but it is clear that Lallana is currently the second in line for the CDM position after Fabinho. We saw Adam play that role in the preseason and perform well. When the lineup against Villa came in, most still expected Gini to drop back to that role or Hendo to go back to a spot he played in for over a season. Lallana seemed to be the creative force of the midfield. Klopp kept Lallana in the offseason due to the player’s familiarity with the system and the ability to adapt to different assignments as needed. Lallana did not have a great game but neither did most of the starters. Still, Adam was able to fill in for Fabinho and definitely showed why Klopp gave him the start. 

VAR .. yes… again unfortunately

Another week and another game filled with VAR controversy. Liverpool were definitely robbed off a goal when Bobby’s goal was flagged and some arbitrary lines drawn during VAR deemed Bobby to be in an offside position. Why was the flag raised so fast anyway when officials were to let the continue unless the offide call was very clear was very clear. Later in the game, a shot by Ox was slapped down by a hand that was not close to the body but there was no call. Would these be even a bigger issue (not that the call on Bobby already isn’t) if the final score did not get us the three points? Var implementation still leaves a lot to be desired. Even when not used properly, there is no arguing that the system has corrected several missed calls. If we want every call to be right and fair, there is no doubt that VAR is needed. I think what it lacks is more clarity in its role, especially in the Premier League. Perhaps a system similar to NFL where the reviews are centralized would be a lot better to use instead of relying on one other person to review things especially when that person is Atkinson

Lovren now the 3rd CB over Gomez

It is becoming clear that Lovren is now ahead of Gomez in the race of the CBs. While it has to be discouraging for Gomez to see himself fall to being the fourth centerback after forming what seemed to be a great pairing of CBs for the next five years with VVD, he only has to look to Matip to see how fast things can change back. Lovren meanwhile has done well despite his critics. The defense played well against Villa and the goal came from a set piece. With the high line offside trap we set in all set pieces, this was a goal that was way overdue. It is a risky way to defend but Liverpool has been excellent in setting that line and keeping it when defending set pieces and despite the scarce chances given up, I expect us to keep it just as it is with the immense success we have majority of the time. Gomez will surely be back up higher in the CB rankings as the year goes. He has immense talent along with speed and agility of a right-back.  As he gets his confidence back up during the cup games, expect Gomez to be featured over Lovren especially in home games when we take on teams who will set to defend.