Mo to Naby… Naby to Mo. Moby. That’s pretty much the story of the training session – sorry, premier league game – this evening. There was also an absolutely brilliant pinpoint 50-yard pass from Hendo to Ox, who delivered an equally brilliant finish as he so often does, to open the scoring, and Henderson was the best man on the pitch in the first half. But when the entire game is considered, the linkup that is clearly starting to build between the Guinea and Egypt captains is something that European defenses must start to fear.
There has been so much promise about Keita’s abilities since he joined, and it has been slow to arrive. Even today he started a bit hesitantly, and gave away a couple of potentially crucial balls in transition, but his touches were gold and his positioning was stellar. It looked as if all he needed was a bit of added confidence to have it all click in. Which is when one Mohamed Salah stepped in to deliver. In a move worthy of Senior Firmino, he calmly backflicked a ball between three pairs of desperate red-and-black legs, and it was all over but for the orange cones they turned into a second later.
The game was over in that moment. And Keita became utterly magnificent in the second half, getting into one great position after another, passing with intent, and making a total nuisance out of himself, ultimately handing back to Mo a much needed, and just as brilliant, assist. Mo pounced on it with aplomb, earning a well-deserved goal in a game where he dominated the opposition all the way through – a worthy man-of-the-match performance, in fact, so he gets it.
Still, because the gap between the two teams was so great, one must consider other elements. Lovren’s injury is a concern, but Gomez can really shine at centerback, which can be easy to forget. He turned in a majestic performance of his own after that shuffle in the back. But above all of that stood the highlight of the game, which was seeing another scouser join the senior squad. Curtis Jones got his debut, and he did very well. Then came the moment when he struck his volley, and I was primed to break some furniture by jumping up to cheer oh-so violently.
Alas, it was only an almost.
One must feel sorry for Eddie Howe, who is now facing an even more urgent injury problem than before the game. Against a Liverpool that has finally shifted into second gear against Everton – and stayed there for this game – it seems doubly unfortunate. The elusive clean sheet for the Reds was no mistake, either, because the machine seems to have ground out whatever small piece of bone was causing the nervous vibrations, and is operating more smoothly now. It can be terrifying to watch, if you’re not a Liverpool fan.
But as a Liverpool fan, all I can say is: let’s break some furniture.