Liverpool’s Boxing Day Victory: Analysis and Highlights
How are we? Goodness, they do not quite make it hard for both them and us, these reds, eh? Despite Burnley’s, the referees’ best efforts, Liverpool eventually came away with all three points from Turf Moor to sit top of the table on Boxing Day. There was a lot to like from both individual and team elements for large parts of this, but the same old issues still loom large on reflection. Jurgen Klopp made his feelings clear to prime-time TV afterwards, and when he does eventually settle down, he’ll be delighted with a clean sheet and no injuries. The return of a familiar face was certainly pleasing too as we look at the lessons learned from another Boxing Day victory.
Forward Line Finds Form
They’ve been criticised a fair bit lately, aside from Mo Salah, and it was great to see the rest of the forward line involved. Cody Gakpo looked more alive on the left and was unlucky to see a goal disallowed whilst notching an assist. Darwin Nunez ended his recent drought with a superb strike for the opener and, on another night, would have had an assist too. He pressed, won tackles, and linked well as it was amazing to see what confidence can do. Luis Diaz had an impact from the bench, and it was good to see him notch an assist for Jota after recent struggles. We’ll come onto the returning Diogo later, but hopefully, they can all kick on a bit from now.
Controversial Calls and More
Liverpool had more than enough opportunities to have been out of sight before their second, indeed it’s hard not to go back to the officials again. In the first instance, many did believe that Darwin Nunez had indeed fouled Charlie Taylor to see Cody a Gakpo’s strike disallowed. How on earth Simon Hooper came to that conclusion having seen multiple replays is anyone’s guess. The same duo combined to see Harvey Elliott’s strike chalked off and with Tierney sent to the monitor, blame can only go one place here. Jurgen Klopp made his feelings clear in his post-match interview and something tells me the PGMOL weren’t on his Christmas card list.
Jota Demonstrates Proficiency
Whilst the profligacy of the forwards clear, including Mo Salah in this one, it was left to a returning face in Diogo Jota to remind everyone of his importance. The Portuguese attacker now averages a goal every 103 minutes this season and is arguably the best finisher at the club. Whilst his all-around play isn’t always the best, a player that can find the net regularly with both feet and his head is worth their weight in gold to Jurgen Klopp. Availability has always been somewhat of an issue for Jota and with Salah heading off to AFCON soon, he’ll be doubly important for the reds. If we’re going to enjoy success this season, you feel he’ll need to stay fit.
Defensive Line Delivers
For all the question marks around the forward line, the defensive side is answering every challenge they face at the moment. Virgil Van Dijk was awarded man of the match and again proved how he’s probably the most important player at the club. Joe Gomez gets closer to the goal then, which will send us all insane, and to be fair to the former Charlton man has been excellent in every position that Jurgen Klopp has deployed him. Ibou Konate was rested after his sensational outing against Arsenal, yet Jarrell Quansah was again faultless for one so young, completing the most passes with 95 on the night. For all the injuries we have back there, they’re all shining right now.