A vital three points was obtained at the Spurs stadium, as Liverpool breathed some new life into a faltering league campaign. All the headlines were naturally grabbed by Mo Salah, as a ninth goal in eight games ensured the Reds at least kept the top 4 within their sites. There were a few other standouts from the game that it was impossible to ignore as the penultimate league match before the World Cup saw all three points return to Anfield.
Konate a Key Player in the back line: Having been injured in the pre-season friendly against Strasbourg, not many could have predicted how badly the absence of the former Leipzig man would be felt. A temporary comeback against Rangers seemed a slight positive, before Liverpool desperately missed the 23 years old’s presence in season lows against Leeds and Notts Forest. Since returning to the backline, a clean sheet against Napoli proceeded an excellent display which cemented a starting place even when Matip returns from injury in many fans eyes. Despite Spurs scoring through Harry Kane, the Frenchman was key to a Reds victory as his stats on the day spoke volumes. The most clearances (8), the most ground duels won (11), the most aerial duels won (7) and the most possession regains (9) showed Konate’s importance to a defence that’s been rightly questioned. The Reds cannot afford to lose their monster for any extended period again. He’s that important.
Robbo return to form continues: Gary Neville was effusive with his praise of Robertson in the after game analysis. ‘Robertson smelt where the game was from the first minute, and I thought, he’s clever, Robertson. He’s a smart full-back, not just a great full-back but a smart full-back.’ Another whose endured a stuttering start to the season, the Scottish captain has answered many of the questions that have been posed of him of late. The 28 year old’s performance combined with his recent form of late has quietened a brewing debate over his virtues compared to Tsimikas. Robbo gave Emerson Royal and Spurs real problems down their right hand side whilst defending well as Spurs threatened to build momentum and force their way back. Liverpool need their full backs to perform well. A return to form couldn’t be better timed.
Nunez matures as a team player: For all the formation and personnel shifts in recent matches, we hadn’t seen Nunez on the left side of a front three and there were questions over how it would work out. From the off, the Uruguayan forward took on all comers and looked a consistent out ball in the early period. Most telling perhaps though were the maturity of his contributions throughout the match. A composed touch and assist for Salah took a few headlines, but it’s the other side to his game that Klopp will have most enjoyed. The former Benfica man provided defensive cover throughout and often ensured Robertson was protected as Spurs attempted to deliver cross after crossing from their right. Despite a standard but crazy Nunez type header to concede a corner, composure was the word of the day as ball retention and link up with his team mates proved key. He’s a mad bastard Nunez… not insane though. The positive signs continue.
Not getting carried away: We’ve been here before with alleged turning points in the season (City and Ajax being the obvious ones) and whilst it’s crucial Liverpool follow this result up, it shouldn’t be assumed. A Salah masterclass can hide a multitude of sins, but it shouldn’t be ignored how certain players seemed to fade badly in the second half as the Reds rode their luck somewhat. For all virtue signalling and headlines as the World Cup comes into vision, what’s clear is there’s a lot of work to be done still. It’s great the Reds could grind it out, but there’s plenty to still work on. A win v a currently managerless Southampton is a must to head off into the break on a high. Let’s see what next week brings.