So, here it is, Merry Christmas reds, and what a superb early present we got this past Monday with our win across the park in the dying embers of the game vs our Merseyside rivals.
Sadio Mane sparked jubilant scenes in the away end with his 94th minute winner vs Everton, but what was more impressive than the win itself was the performance and stand-out gap in quality between the two sides.
Everton, as tenacious as they were, tried to blow Liverpool away in the first half-hour of the game, employing a heavy and often uncoordinated press, along with the famed Goodison atmosphere.
Whereas the above tactics broke the mental reserve of Arsenal, what was impressive to see from Jurgen Klopp’s men was the lack of panic in the face of the blue roar. It was as if the visitors were the teacher in a room full of rowdy pupils, who firstly had the job of suppressing the class in order to continue the lesson.
Undoubtedly, the hosts best player is Idrissa Gueye, who as a footballer does not possess any great ability, but as a central-midfielder is industrious in his work load, which typified the hosts.
Yet, once the plan of long-ball had fallen short, underhand tactics such as was exemplified by Ross Barkley were becoming more of an occurrence.
Yet, Liverpool did not entertain a long-ball game, or become embroiled in a brawl – which the hosts wanted. Klopp’s men stuck to their philosophy, and although frustrated kept on employing the methods they knew best.
Adam Lallana continued to drop deep, Gini Wijnaldum pulled the strings of the midfield, whilst Jordan Henderson dictated the tempo. Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren marshalled Lukaku remarkably and it was then up to the forwards to win the game – which with the inclusion of Daniel Sturridge, they did.
It was a complete domination in the second-half, Liverpool’s well trained approach was too much for Everton to handle. It was the simple case of when, not if. Yet Mane’s winner was a signifier of a Liverpool team working as one, who with strength-in-depth, looked like a well-oiled machine who belong at the top.
Finally, from top down, stadium to players, Liverpool look Michelin star quality and that reds, is the perfect festive realisation.
With January approaching, a signing or two to plaster over our losses to the AFCON would need to be an added present and will surely be a pointer of where our season will be going. Names such as Julian Draxler, who looks destined for PSG, and Wilfried Zaha have been rumoured, but whoever were to join the ranks would need to hit the ground running.
2016 has been a year of turnarounds and Klopp, a year of out-goings and incomings and a year Liverpool Football Club are pulling in the right direction to achieve the end goal.
The above could not be summarised more appropriately, than a 0-1 victory across the way against the blues.