What a team. What a side. In 50 years when your kids or grandkids ask you about the best Liverpool side you’ve ever seen, don’t say you spent the season worrying about City, you’ll never forgive yourself. Adore these Reds. They deserve it. They would go to the moon and back for us if we asked.
In fact, I’m sure Andy Robertson ran that accumulative distance last night and no one will convince me otherwise. Nathaniel Clyne, he must have crawled into bed, his whole body aching. With absolutely no minutes in his legs, he ran and fought for the cause. He was always an option for Mane on the right, overlapping him with lung-busting runs on several occasions. This is what it means to them.
Our ‘keeper, they say a top ‘keeper is one without errors, but having a knack of always getting away with your errors is something I can really get behind. He has made so many crucial saves already during his short time here, saving us plenty of points and cementing our place in the Champions League knockout stages. He has also made a couple of big errors, however, costing us a combined total of 0 points.
These boys bail each other out. When van Dijk makes a rare mishap, Gomez, Lovren, or Alisson pick up the pieces. When Salah is under par, Mane, Firmino, and Shaqiri ensure we get the win. If you face us with a plan of getting the better of van Dijk and Alisson while also hoping for Salah, Mane, Firmino, and Shaqiri all to have an off day, good luck to you!
Despite Shaqiri’s second-half heroics, I felt Fabinho was the best player on the pitch for the 90. I’ve found myself saying this a lot about our players lately, which is a good sign, but yesterday was his best performance in a Liverpool shirt. I was surprised Klopp picked him over Henderson yesterday, considering the stature of the game and the opponents. The formation was changed to suit him I felt with Gini dropping deeper than he was for Napoli and Keita being clearly more advanced than those two in a 4-2-3-1 system. Fab repaid the manager and then some.
He seemed intent on showing both us, and United, how much better he is than his opposite number. Matic is an absolute carthorse by the way, how on earth did he make it into the combined XI on Sky? Fabinho seems to be the perfect blend of a midfield player with strength and power as well as the ability to stick his foot in but with some added guile and movement. His pass for the first goal was simply perfect. He made it as easy as he could for Mane. Any further ahead or behind him and the finish becomes far more challenging. It must be hard playing a pass like that with so little margin for error in a tight space to a player that quick. There are question marks over Ashley Young’s tracking of his man, but everything from the run, to the pass, to the touch, to the finish, was perfect, making it difficult to defend.
His control of the game second half made it the complete performance, although he didn’t have much to contend with as United showed nothing really in terms of danger to our goal. Still, there was a job to be done and he did it, snuffing out any signs of a United attack before it could begin with his quick pressing in the right moments and well-timed tackles. That goes for all our lads today as the Reds went the whole game without picking up a yellow. While the quality of opponent will no doubt improve, today was a big stepping stone in the career of the Brazilian. It was another top performance under his belt as he continues to improve and quash any bizarre claims of being unsettled and close to a move away.
The Reds march on having claimed 15 points from 15 since the international break, plus advancement from the group of the death in the Champions League. I said before the Watford game saying I’d be in heaven with 13 points. Liverpool have shown just how good they are, exceeding even my lofty expectations for them. This run has been truly remarkable and should not be underestimated. Our day gets even better with the announcement that Liverpool have drawn Bayern in the last 16 of the Champions League, not to mention the subsequent implosion of Manchester United in the wake of our convincing victory, Bring on the Bayern game, it’d be a huge scalp and we have every chance in beating them. What a boost that would give us. Don’t let the United fans in your lives ruin your Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, for us Reds.
As for the Mancs — have fun in Paris.