This Liverpool side is on to something special, isn’t it? The Reds warmed up for a huge week ahead, with a routine 4-0 dispatching of Newcastle United at Anfield, and there were some strong individual performances throughout the pitch for the Reds.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson were fantastic throughout the game, with their energy on the flanks, supplementing all of Liverpool’s attempts to bombard the Newcastle goal.
Virgil van Dijk, who was the MOTM last time when the Reds faced Wolves, was, well, himself. What he had to do at the back, he did with swagger, and in the second half, he was utterly desperate to find himself on the scoresheet.
Then there was Dejan Lovren – the good kind. Positive in defence, no brain fades. And there was the half-volleying Dejan Lovren. It was a lovely strike from the Croat to give the Reds the lead and set them on their way. It also ensured no nerves on the day at Anfield.
But, on a day when the opposition did next to nothing in attack, you really cannot give the Man of the Match award to a defender.
There was Xherdan Shaqiri who continues to woo Anfield with strong performances after another. The Swiss once again found the net as he got on the end of a lovely flowing move, for his sixth goal of the season.
And there was Mo Salah. A goal, an assist and another overall impressive showing to continue his fantastic form from recent weeks.
But, the Man of the Match on the day would probably have to go to the Reds’ skipper, who was influential from the middle of the park. Jordan Henderson has had his fair share of detractors, and he always will do, but if he can put in more performances like that one, the detractors will have less and less to moan about.
The Henderson we saw today was the Henderson we want to see more of, preferably week in week out. He was positive on the ball, eager in the press and wanted to set Liverpool attacks moving with gusto.
In many ways, the switch to the 4-2-3-1 system has helped Henderson massively. It was the system that he formed a really good partnership with Emre Can in, in Klopp’s first season for Liverpool, and having an additional deeper-lying midfielder with him has helped his own game hugely.
The positivity from Henderson, both in this game and the game against Wolves has been refreshing to see. Against a Newcastle side that was always going to sit back and try and absorb pressure, Henderson was hell-bent to slam the Newcastle door from minute one.
With the four attacking players in tow and the flying full-backs, it gave the skipper plenty of opportunities to spray passes around and set the Reds off in search of goals. And he did it to perfection.
He did not have a negative bone in his body which is so often the case. In this game, it was evident that Henderson took the safe option back to Van Dijk or Lovren only when the lines to all his other options were cut out.
It was also refreshing that he was positive enough to take some shots from distance, although none of his efforts really came close to troubling Martin Dubravka. And there was his big contribution for the night, as well.
It might be argued that it was the obvious pass for Henderson to play out to Alexander-Arnold, for him to set up Shaqiri’s goal, but the timing and weight of it was perfect. It was put on a plate for the full-back to slam across goal for the waiting left boot of Shaqiri to finish off the job.
All in all, a domineering display from the skipper, and one that needs to be replicated on a regular basis.
Up the positive Jordan Henderson! Up Jurgen’s table-topping Mighty Reds!