The lead up to the Middlesbrough game was odd. On one hand you had people just looking at the Premier League table and expecting Liverpool to just roll over the home side. On the other hand you had those who, because negativity had set into their mindset, were convinced the match would be like Burnley but ten times worse.
The fact the Reds started with the same back five from the match against Burnley only added fuel to the fire. Loris Karius was dropped and Joel Matip joined Emre Can, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge on the injury list.
Boro had only conceded a combined two goals in three matches against Arsenal and Manchester City. It could have been a tricky night, but it wasn’t. Klopp’s men looked slick in attack and carved out plenty of chances, especially in the second-half, as they romped to a 3-0 win. Adam Lallana was comfortably the Man of the Match and added an assist to his two goals. Divock Origi continued his fine run of form making it 5 goals in 5 games and he teed Lallana up for the third Liverpool goal.
The Reds are creative even without Coutinho
Even though Liverpool scored three against Bournemouth and two against West Ham, there have been rumblings from certain fans that without the injured Coutinho the team lacked a spark in the final third. The good football seemed to fall down in attack. It wasn’t seamless and it wasn’t fluid.
After the win against Boro, hopefully that’s put that to bed. Liverpool were incisive, creative and fluid as they demolished a well-organised and extremely disciplined Karanka side, to win comfortably.
The Big Div Express
That’s 5 in 5 for Big Div now. While his overall performances may not be reaching the levels of last season, and he doesn’t look as sharp, he is managing to put the ball in the back of the net on a regular basis.
His goal against Boro showed a real predators instinct as he used his electric pace to blitz past the Boro defence to get into the six yard box to poke home. In that situation you sometimes see players hold their position wanting the ball to be pulled back but Origi showed his killer mentality to make it a simple tap in. Can this goalscoring run of form continue?
Simon Mignolet looked assured
There will no doubt be a lot of talk surrounding Klopp’s decision to take Karius out of the firing line. What transpired beforehand which lead to Karius being dropped means extra eyes will be on Mignolet. It means added pressure to a notoriously low-on-confidence ‘keeper. But against Boro he did well. He kept out a Fischer shot, his distribution looked much better and he even caught a cross! He didn’t seem phased. It helped that it was a comfortable game for him to come into with the home side not posing any attacking threat.
Back to 2nd in the League
Liverpool got back to winning ways and in the process climbed back to second in the table. If they’re there come January 1st Liverpool will have successfully navigated the festive fixtures and a title challenge is still very much on the cards.