European nights are always a cause for celebration, but unfortunately, the game played today did not live up to the excitement. In fact, it was one of the more boring affairs I’ve seen in a while in the Champions League. There simply isn’t very much to discuss and so I will keep this column commensurably short. The one truly critical thing that happened today was Fabinho’s injury. Liverpool is already woefully short in the back, and we can only hope that whatever did happen is minor, and he will be back soon.
On the positive side, this gave opportunity to young Rhys Williams to have most of the game to himself to partner Gomez in the back, which can only be a good thing for him and for Liverpool. All credit to the visitors, who certainly tried to take advantage of the youngster’s inexperience, but after a few shaky minutes coming on, he settled in and ultimately delivered a solid performance, handling every tricky moment thrown his way with quiet determination to not do anything stupid. In this quest he succeeded admirably.
Seeing as he is now likely to feature in more games, this game would have done a world of good to his confidence, and that can only be a wonderful thing for the Reds.
Speaking of confidence, I am inclined to quote myself from three days ago: “Jota is still acclimating to the way Liverpool plays, and sometimes he still gets in everybody’s way, but it has to be admitted that his adjustment is far more rapid than, say, Takumi Minamino’s”. He is scoring regularly, for one thing. More remarkably, he seems to have managed to come in and own his attacking place in a squad that includes the likes of Salah, Mane, and Firmino. Good on Jota, and looks like Liverpool got themselves another winner, and one that can help ease the pressure on those other three.
It was lovely to see Big Shaq again, and he combined beautifully with man-of-the-match Alexander-Arnold several times, including for the opening goal. Trent himself gave a lovely performance, and while he will only get credited with one assist, he effectively delivered both goals, as his pinpoint pass to Salah leading to the penalty would have ended up in the net otherwise.
As for Midtjylland – they did well enough, and honestly tried to get something from a game where they were massive underdogs. They almost succeeded, too, but in reality, this was the sort of game that a manager in Klopp’s position wants to manage carefully, and win with as little effort as possible. This Liverpool did, and if it weren’t for what appears to be the Terminator’s hamstring, it could have been considered a perfect night. Two out of two, three more points in the bag, and maybe this year’s group stage will be a less dramatic affair.
The Reds could sure use that.