The Reds have won again in glorious fashion. The Reds winning in any fashion is glorious and something we should not lose sight of. When the Reds win, we all win and it sets the tone for our week ahead. Bask in the glory of victory and take it into Wednesday. Liverpool have done exactly what they needed to do and cheered us all up, despite the fact a referee in Manchester doesn’t know the offside rule.
Revel in the image of rival fans and doom-seeking journalists all over the globe in front of their keyboards at 1-0. We can only imagine how frequent the term “bottlers” was used at approximately 12:06 p.m. on Sunday. Bettered only by the panicked use of the backspace key just 13 minutes later as Firmino wheeled away.
Liverpool showed their steel and their “bottle” against the harshest of circumstances. 5 minutes in and they discover not only must they contend with a superpower funded by an oil state who have broken financial regulations set by four different governing bodies (allegedly), but they must also battle against officials who over the space of 2 days make 2 decisions that are as damaging to the cause as they are baffling.
Nevertheless, they collectively brush it all off and begin dominating their opponents in every single aspect. In such a short period of time they make such a monstrous challenge look like the easiest thing in the world. What a group of players we are blessed with. They deserve all the credit in the world.
One in particular, who came in from the cold and out into the wind and hale. We were told before kick-off by the boss that Adam Lallana had trained excellently all week to earn his spot in the team. Many of us were wondering how well he must have done to suddenly leap frog Shaqiri and Keita in the pecking order. As it happens, very well indeed. He deserves the man of the match award today as he was the best on the pitch by a distant in the most important and defining part of the game.
From the moment we concede to the moment we go in front, he is unplayable. The intent he showed to cover ground and get stuck into the hardened Burnley mob seemingly fed off onto the players around him and also the crowd. He managed to combine gnarly aggression with silky touches and immense technical ability on the ball.
What started as a surprisingly lively start, given his match fitness, escalated into a fantastic midfield performance as he continued to improve as the first half went on. He managed to play the only accurate long pass of the match as everyone struggled with the ferocious wind on Merseyside. Lallana’s excellent switch to Salah in space, helped set up the first goal. His contribution to the second however, was even more impressive.
He sprung on the Burnley defence with a terrific sliding tackle that evoked memories of his stellar campaign in 2016/17 under Klopp where his intelligent and energetic pressing led him to become a hugely important figure in the side. The tackle sent the ball back into the Burnley box and roused panic amongst their players, allowing Mane to finish expertly. Lallana had a pass accuracy of 78% across the 90 minutes. He also made more tackles than any other Liverpool player on the pitch as well as his involvement in the first 2 goals.
The Reds’ trip to Munich is next on the calendar in a competition that has slipped into the periphery this season given the intense nature of this title charge. Some of us however have been eyeing the champions league from the very beginning, thinking we have as good a chance as any to go one step further this year. I suspect if we manage to advance after the showdown at the Allianz, the talk of number 6 will increase drastically given the prominent names that won’t be in the next round.
We have a huge chance to simultaneously put ourselves in the mix for the biggest club competition in the world and build on the momentum gained from Burnley for the remainder of the league season. We should all back the Reds to do just that. Big European nights is where this lot thrive. You may have overlooked the champions league but Jurgen definitely has not. Liverpool have the ambition and quality to challenge for both.
Allez Allez Allez.