Top of the League: An Unlikely Victory
It seems astonishing to believe that a performance like that could put Liverpool top of the league, but here we are. It wasn’t remotely pretty, the officials didn’t seem remotely convincing, but an incident packed game at Selhurst Park saw Jurgen Klopp and his men leave with all three points to keep a 100% record in December. All the talk for a while will be over the opinions of ‘Fletch’ and no doubt Woy will have plenty to say, but the recent standard of play poor and win was maintained. With it being a 12:30pm away and taking into account recent events, a win with no injuries is something to behold right now. We look at the lessons learned from a heart-testing victory.
Jurgen Klopp gave everyone a boost when he announced that the Brazilian keeper was back in training Thursday. There was uncertainty as to whether he’d be ready for this one, but thank god he was. He had no competition amongst starters for man of the match, but Liverpool owed Alisson a massive debt for their victory in this one. His save in the first half to keep the reds on parity was absolutely top draw and his save from Anderson right near the end was nearly as good. It’s a brutal game football and it’s not unfair to say that if Kelleher had been in the sticks, the result would likely have been different. In the small margins, that’s where the big players make the difference.
Game-Changing Sub: Elliott’s Performance
What a strike and what another cameo from Harvey Elliott in this one. The England under-21 youngster seemed tailor-made for a game where Liverpool couldn’t seem to create or break the opposition down. So it proved too, as a wonder strike gave us all three points and if Luis Diaz hadn’t just strayed offside he’d have an assist too. There will be clamour for him to start, but maybe these cameos are where he shines. Speaking of substitutes, it shouldn’t be ignored just how important the introduction of Joe Gomez for the second half was. It wasn’t just about allowing Trent to move into midfield, but he offered a threat and was in our top five performers on the day.
Areas of Concern
There will be plenty of talk and tributes around Mo Salah hitting 200 Liverpool goals, but that wasn’t one of the biggest takeaways here. The reds have been poor throughout December and some players need to pick it up fast. Diaz has been largely ineffective for a while and Nunez is now eight games without a goal for the club and spends his life offside. It was a tough day for young Quansah, but more worrying Konate can’t seem to start two games in a space of days, especially after Matip’s injury. Endo looked well off the pace and after a promising start, Gravenberch’s form seems to have tailed off hard. With United in a week, there’s plenty to correct.