We’ve been waiting for this since January.
The tantalizing capacity of the Red side to become a living manifestation of a lullaby, a Dr Seuss story, a child’s joyful summer song. Should it be in order? Mini… Mane… Mino… (shuffles feet while studiously avoiding Hendo) Mo. How about Mino Mini Mane Mo? I like that one. With goals to spare, the variations are endless. What it really needed was for Minamino – the inspiration for countless memes as he made his way over from Austria – to finally click and start putting his mark on the premier league.
It took a little while longer than we’d hoped, and a change of role by an ever detail-oriented Klopp, but he’s here now, and his firm finish two minutes in today opened up the floodgates.
These kinds of games, like the one at Villa Park earlier in the season, are always a bit hard to explain. Did Crystal Palace really deserve this kind of thumping? No, they didn’t, just like Liverpool themselves didn’t in that other one. But the champions showed up today in a determined mood, which for a team that prides itself on being intense means they turned into a platoon of special forces, unsparing killing machines sniping down everything in sight. Poor Palace got some excellent opportunities early on, and could have done better, but none of that was so unusual; it was at the other end where the bullseyes were being hit repeatedly.
Let’s count the ways: Minamino had his first of what I predict will be many more to come. Bobby with his two gorgeous hits is clearly back to firm(ino)ly owning his title song. Mane is deservedly back on the score sheet again. Trent is assisting freely again. Hendo is hitting the back of the net. Ox is back! And Mo? The man conjured two goals in twenty-five, seemingly out of nowhere, and amusingly, after he apparently decided to sub himself in without any real prompting from his manager.
I’m sure Klopp will forgive him.
Speaking of the Mayor of Hendersville, if you wonder what a ten-level performance looks like in a role like his, today’s your uncle, sorry, answer. Wow. Man-of-the-match Hendo single-handedly owned the midfield and somehow also the backline cover duty, served as the pressure relief valve across the pitch, had all those probing passes and oh, yes, capped it off with an absolutely sumptuous strike that would have had fans screaming in the stands. I don’t know if it is possible to put in a better performance than that, and I’m sure other teams are hopeful that it isn’t, because frankly and to my utter amazement, Hendo didn’t even seem all that impressed with himself.
If this is what Liverpool looks like while dealing with the worst injury crisis in recent memory, then maybe Mourinho was not entirely off the mark when he seemed to wave away the idea that it was even a crisis. For one thing, what on earth is the German going to do when we get Jota back and “sign” Thiago in January?
For my part, waking up at 430AM to watch the lads had never felt so good.