Liverpool 1 – 1 Aston Villa – PL Man of The Match
Virgil van Dijk
The big man has crept back into form, which has certainly enabled this altering system of play to well, play out.
In a formation that frequently switches from a 4-3-3, to an in possession 3-4-3, it really does need that vocal and calming leader to organize much of the team. We have recently been told that this system was merely stumbled upon, due to the reds looking to combat a dangerous Arsenal team, some weeks ago. Since that game, Virgil had been consistently growing in his levels, with the odd blip along the way. What we have seen in this previous winning 7 game run, was Ibou and Trent having tremendous success in their roles, though with our number 4 facilitating much of the strategic work.
Virgil van Dijk goes full Firmino to celebrate the Brazilian's Anfield-farewell goal 🥋 pic.twitter.com/abFbBsxTLm
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 20, 2023
We are still in the very early days of transition, with this season leading to a substantial overhaul of the previous ideals. With transition will inevitably come casualties. Some of those casualties said their goodbyes to the Anfield faithful at the end of the game today, but more must be moved on in the coming months, if only to the periphery of the squad. What is apparent, is that key individuals and ingredients are needed from the current crop, in order to restore the glory of the recent past. In contrast, some must be ushered out of the first eleven, as soon as humanly possible.
I mentioned how Ibou and Trent had garnered much of the recent attention (with their showings), yet we still need the vastly experienced and tremendously elite components to remain. Virgil should take the armband next season, with an initiative to lead this next group into the next Jürgen Klopp phase. Masterful and loyal players are rare in modern football, especially when the lure of other clubs and huge contracts are forever on the footballing horizon. The likes of Alisson Becker, Virgil, Thiago, and Mohamed Salah, are world class players that can still offer peak performance for the next couple of years. Despite the need for better management of their aging bodies, it is still imperative that these wonderfully experienced elements are part of the regeneration.
I hope more than anything, that our glorious manager can find the strength to really push through the required changes. We have a period of rest upcoming, yet the management and coaching team must use this time to best design a successful strategy for next term. Stumbled upon systems of play can create short periods of success, yet too many variables exist within such endeavours. Against Aston Villa, we were reliant on the ability of our outstanding goalkeeper (in the first half), in order to stay in the game. The man of the match award could only arrive at the giant feet of VVD, as he was the defensive general that was able to usher so much danger away.
We need to stop downplaying the importance of our vital group, whilst recognizing the glaring deficiencies of others, which must include the lacklustre skipper. Southampton is now a free shot to push through new ideas and relegate dead weight to the bench.
Today’s man of the match was undoubtedly Virgil van Dijk; therefore, I hope he walks onto the Saints pitch next weekend as the match day captain and begin the real era of change.