First, an explanation: due to technical difficulties – I could not watch the match until just now on recorded replay – this particular corner is coming at you a lot more slowly than usual.
So, with that out of the way… what a game, huh?
As I wrote after our FA cup defeat on Sunday, it seemed like a turning point. The lads had never really lost their ability to dominate their opponents, only their skill at translating that domination into goals; the game against United seemed to have finally reversed that trend.
Today Spurs experienced the subsequent buildup.
Liverpool hammered four in – that Salah goal was legal by every definition of the rules of the game – and could easily have added a couple more, were it not for a lack of concentration on the part of one Sadio Mane. The big difference in this game, of course, is that out of all those opportunities, three of them actually registered on the official scoreline. The timing of the first one was also reminiscent of the more inspired recent vintages of red, coming as it did on the last play of the first half, timed so as to utterly demolish the morale of the opposition in the process. It was so bad that Serge Aurier left the stadium in a huff at half time.
Such are the ways we have become accustomed to from this Liverpool team, and it was a delight to bask in it again.
So many positive things can be taken from this game. The final pass – or shot – having that bite that has been missing. All front three scoring (even if not officially). Nat Phillips putting in a nice shift after coming on at half time for a yet-again injured Matip. That one is a concern, as it appears like he might also be done for the season, leaving the team with no senior centerback. Much as I adore Nat and appreciate seeing the growth with Rhys, being set to finish the season with Fab and Hendo at the center of our defensive unit is not a prospect anyone should relish. Lovren was right when he recently pointed out in a semi-teasing tweet that the team must be missing him a lot.
I know I do.
At least we still have a few days in the transfer window, and maybe, just maybe, this latest injury will finally convince the powers that be at Merseyside that bringing someone in, even on a loan, for the rest of the season may be advisable.
But putting all that aside, by far the happiest news of the day are the triumphant return to form of one boyish, smiling right-back whose demeanor is almost comically cute before he proceeds to destroy you and devour your soul. What Trent Alexander-Arnold did to poor Joe Rodon with that assist to Mane is both routine for this modern Cafu reincarnation, as well as terrifying to those who must face him. He was itching for it, too, as could be seen from his performance throughout the game leading to that pass, not to mention a well-taken strike for put Liverpool two up. Let’s hope that the Reds really has Trent back; we’ll need to see a run of form established. Regardless, today’s display is excellent news, and he is, undoubtedly, the man of the match.
I hear that Mourinho had another metldown after the game, and I will be eagerly looking to watch that after I post this column. I guess the best team lost again or something. In the meantime, Liverpool has registered three straight seasonal doubles against Spurs, not to mention one Champions League final. So, you know, there’s that. Next up is the surprise Hammers package, which currently sits on the verge of a Champions League spot next season.
Based on the same multi-season record, and while it isn’t by much, that still promises to be a more difficult outing.