Observations as Liverpool slot 5 past Huddersfield
The Liverpool attack was in full flow as Liverpool scored five goals without reply to pile the pressure back on Manchester City. Mané and Salah got a brace each after a club record early goal from Keita. Below are the key talking points.
The weaponry from wide
The full backs were yet again in full flow with Robertson chipping in with 2 goals, taking him to a record equalling 11 assists in the league.Arnold chipped in with an assist of his own, taking the total number of assists from the 2 full-backs to an incredible 24 through the season in all competitions. On the basis of these numbers and performances, their recognition in the PFA team of the year is most deserving.
The Mané-Salah Golden Boot mini league
Salah and Mané started the day with 19 and 18 goals in the league respectively. Mané equalled Salah at 19 with the easiest of headers laid on the plate from Robertson. With his dinked finish, Salah moved to 20 and one ahead, and his simple tap in moved him 2 clear at 21, when Mané pulled one back to halve the difference. It almost seemed like a mini competition was going on between the attackers, but yet both were happy to see each other goal. Salah became the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals in the league for 2 consecutive seasons after Luis Suarez. Their meeting couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.
Keita growing into his role
It has been quite a tough debut season for Keita, especially with the fee paid and the hype surrounding him. He seems to have settled in a bit better now, with his recent goals contributing towards it. He scored within 14 seconds from kick off, with his initial press helping Liverpool winning the ball, and he was in the right position to slot the ball in. With Henderson relishing his attacking role once again, the Keita-Henderson axis with Fabinho behind them has immense potential.
Liverpool have done all they can to maintain pressure on City in the league, but the focus now shifts to the massive semi-final ahead at Barcelona. Klopp chose to play Salah and Mané for 90 minutes today, preferring them to be in rhythm and scoring form over resting them. Fabinho and Firmino were clearly not risked , considering the semi-final ahead. With Liverpool in cruise control by half time, Liverpool could afford not to stretch themselves and preserve what they could for the showdown on Wednesday.
The wait ends at 367
Klopp as part of the squad announcement joked that they were not quite sure what to call Chamberlain as in the squad. Though it was a joke, it re-emphasised how long AOC had been away and what the team had missed; the driving force at midfield. He could have indeed made it a dream comeback only to be denied by a block after some neat footwork and control. Though his contributions on the pitch are going to be limited, his presence in the dressing room is definitely going to keep the spirits high in this home stretch.