Once again, our beloved Reds put us all in a position to worry. They decided their fate on matchday 6 just like last season. That wouldn’t be so bad if it were Genk, but it was F’ing Salzburg! Those kids can play! I took off work to watch the match and for an hour it was the most intense back and forth scoreless game you’ll ever see. Then there was Naby…
The excitement for me started at 9 a.m. CST because I was given the option to take the rest of the day off…well yeah. I got home settled into my PJs and my third kit shirt and started watching all the build-up. These guy really scared me especially with our CDM (central destroying midfielder) out. Usually we can count on Fabinho to stop most of the counters before they really get started. Today it was back to Henderson at the 6. Well that sucks. We have to be stuck with a guy that can barely play the position. I mean its not like he played that position all the way to a UCL final, and the most of the way to another one. Oh wait, yeah he did do that didn’t he? The starting line-up was a pleasant surprise. I thought Ox would get the nod but Klopp knows what he’s doing and I think its always good to have someone play against their old team. Remember Mo against Roma?
The game began about how I thought it would. Very tense with each team desperate to score first. I don’t know if there are any other sides that can run like Liverpool and RB Salzburg, but man was it a track meet! Both teams had great chances. The best chance from the Austrians came in the 7’ minute mark where Alisson was forced to make an amazing double save. Haaland regularly found himself on the brink of being through on goal, but Lovren stuck with the young goal machine very well and forced him into contested shots which kept sailing wide. Virgil was his usual self, setting the tone early by introducing some of their forwards to the ground. The first half ending with more questions, but no answers.
In the second half, around the 57’ minute mark, Andy Robertson found Sadio Mane from out wide and Sadio blew smooth past his man all the way down the left edge of the 6 yard box. Running out of room he sent a lovely chipped ball back towards to middle of the box to find none other than Naby Keita who hea
ded just between two defenders to break the deadlock. Not 2 minutes later Mo Salah was “RUNNING DOWN THE WING” and also running out of room with a very aggressive Stankovic closing down on him. He sends a right footed shot passed Stankovic and from a VERY improbably angle, it bounces right on in. At the time I was thinking, “what i
s he doing running so far down and now he’s crossing the ball with no help? Oh man, that’s going in. It is! It did! AAAHHHH!” Maybe he decided to go with the right foot since he couldn’t anything with his left? Don’t care. Get in!
The rest of the match was text book Liverpool, very controlling, very professional, and very effective. However, it was clear Salzburg were never that far from slotting one home given their tenacity and lightning fast offensive play. Getting a clean sheet away against Salzburg was the team’s biggest achievement this group stage. They are very good, and they are a wonder to watch. I am supporting them to win Europa. I would love to see a rematch in the Super Cup. The only lasting worry after the match will be the fi
tness of one Dejan Lovren. He had to be subbed off for Joe Gomez and we can only hope that maybe he’s still be bothered by cramps? Hopefully he will be good to go in the coming weeks.
My MOTM was Naby Keita for the second straight week. Yes, I am an unapologetic Keita homer. I don’t care. I love to watch that man play football. He plays every aspect of the game at a different speed than everyone else. Defensively, he had 3 tackles and an interception. I think he is one of our best and occupying passing lanes. He is one of those players that the ball always seems to find. Offensively, he had 3 shots with 2 on goal, scoring on 1 of them. Naby had 2 key passes and 4 successful dribbles. He had a good bit of the ball during this match and was only dispossessed 1 time. It wasn’t as impressive as his last match, but he was a constant presence on the field. With Roberto Firmino having a bit of an off day, Keita provides the link up and fluid play that we would normally miss if not provided by Bobby. On we go, back home to Anfield to take on Watford. I imagine it will look a lot like the last two Premier League matches with more than a few changes. It’s an exciting time with the CWC coming up along with Leicester City on Boxing Day. We could very well start the New Year with more silverware and a larger gap at the top of the table. I’m excited, and I’m done worrying. Time to enjoy these matches. The squad is more than solid, and geared up to destroyed these festive fixtures. Up the Reds! See you next time. YNWA.