Captain’s Class Crystal Clear
The Reds Prevail
It was an end to end, chaotic encounter but the Reds prevailed. As opposed to the week before, the patient and probing game versus Brighton where the Reds prevailed. This can be again contrasted to the gnarly, physical battle against Burnley a while back in which the Reds prevailed. There is a pattern emerging, however. Teams turn up to play Liverpool, be it at Anfield or away from home, implement a plan to emerge with some points and then get beat. There’s plenty of rival fans that reckon all these gaffers are stupid. “Don’t attack them that’s suicide.” “Why does every team sit back against Liverpool”. I’d love to hear them come up with a solution. Liverpool have shown that they can rise above any system, pass any test, beat any team. If I put myself in the position of an opposing manager, I have no idea how to setup, how to stop the attack, how to breach the defence, how to convince my players there is a way over the line here. Wilfred Zaha is a fantastic player with seemingly endless confidence and belief in his own ability as he frequently uses big opposition as a platform to display his talent. Not every team has Wilfred Zaha however, and even with him its not enough.
Liverpool were great in parts and very poor in parts on Saturday, the latter being down to a makeshift backline due to injuries, the former instigated by our captain. Jordan Henderson stepped up again and provided the win at all costs mentality that the rest of the team could feed off of. His incredible energy and intensity is contagious and filters through his men, ensuring no room for complacency. He has become an excellent leader, one that understands what it takes to play for Liverpool, in terms of quality, work ethic and mentality. He is also a huge asset in breaking down opposition defensive lines with his passing ability and range. Before Palace take the lead, he comes very close on a few occasions to breaking the deadlock with pinpoint, deep crosses into Andy Robertson at the back post, who’s touch prevents a goalscoring chance from being carved out. Following the goal, Henderson’s performance level does not drop as he constantly demands the ball, desperate to find space in behind with his passing for the front three to capitalise on.
In the second half, he starts quick as does the team. He is the instrument with which Klopp executes his half time plan. Liverpool are relentless. The goals come in fortunate circumstances but as a result of immense, constant pressure that inevitably leads to Palace folding. The first arrives but the Reds refuse to hold off until they have the second. The pressure stems from Henderson. He is the protection for the back four and the starter of the attacks. As soon as the ball is cleared, he is there to accurately and quickly redistribute possession, ensuring Palace have no reprieve from this onslaught. The pace at which he hunts down and releases the ball is the catalyst for the speed of our attacks and the noise of the crowd, all of which add to the enormous pressure that Crystal Palace eventually succumb to.
Overall, it was a fantastic display from the captain, the accuracy of his passing was exceptional and pivotal in releasing Robertson to attack down the left flank which he did so well again today. The win was a huge one, as they all are in this race. The fact we came back twice from disappointment to get the win, should cement our belief in these players and their belief in themselves. They look like they needed a break, which comes now, before Leicester. The Reds are off to Dubai to recuperate before a huge push in both competitions. On we go.
Fifteen cup finals left.