Another week and another 3 points
Another week with a subpar performance but three points to show for it. Aside from a brief period in the first half, Liverpool looked far from their best and made it a nervy last ten minutes. They did manage to get the three points and while fans are not impressed with the play on the field, you cannot argue with the results. The team is finding different (and stressful) ways to win keep and continue to increase the gap between them and Manchester City. This has been a great start to the season and the table shows that the Reds are in control of this title run and it is now theirs to lose.
The Crazy Sequence
Much discussed over the last 24 hours is the goal conceded and the Alisson red card. The red card is clearly not up for debate as Becker misjudged the flight of the ball and got caught in between coming out or staying in the box. Bringing a frozen Adrian into goal was already a challenging prospect but conceding a goal seconds made it into a horror show.
Having watched and played this game for years, you mainly see two types of free kicks. Ones which are taken quickly or ones that require the whistle. If the referee makes it clear that the whistle is required, in every case I have seen, they will wait until both teams are set. Atkinson did not wait for Adrian to prepare his wall. Adrian did take too long to get it going and should have definitely been faster but perhaps was still buying himself some time to get warmed up. While Atkinson should have waited for Liverpool to be ready to blow the whistle, the Reds should have definitely been more alert. While this did not cost us points, it definitely cost me more hair loss during the final ten minutes.
Tired legs and minds
Liverpool started the game with pace and aggression. The two goals came from set-pieces but the Reds created several other chances that were not converted. As the game went on, you could clearly see a more tired team that was slow to react. The Reds let Brighton control the ball and be able to pass between the lines. As we head into the time of year with games being played every 3-4 days, Klopp’s rotation will be key to keep the team fresh and play with intensity. Keita and Shaqiri being fit to help out the midfield will be valuable but their defensive work-rate will be key to the Reds’ success
Ox getting back to being a key player
One of the most positive aspects of the recent games has been the play of Ox and watching him regain his form. With the injury to Fabinho, the Reds will need to use Gini and Hendo to rotate in that number 6 spot which will give Ox a great opportunity to get a permanent spot in this midfield. His recent scoring form is a great sign as they will need his scoring threat to help the front three.
Missing parts from the spine
While Everton is having an extremely poor year, the derby games are always a different scenario to handle. Everton losing to Leicester on a last-second goal will put Silva on an even hotter seat especially since they had the lead in this game. The Liverpool game will be Silva’s last chance or it could possibly be the interim coach’s first game.
One of Liverpool’s strengths was the solid spine on the squad with Alisson, VVD, and Fabinho. With Fabinho injured and Alisson out due to his red card suspension, the Reds will be missing two out of the three. While Adrian has shown that he is a very capable replacement, the loss of Fabinho will leave Klopp looking for alternative formations. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of changes Klopp makes to the midfield three as well as the front three. We have seen him do a rotation and get criticized for it when playing against Everton in the past.