Postmortem: Liverpool 4-1 Luton – Reds’ ‘Reserves’ in Comeback Win

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Liverpool Triumph Over Luton 4-1: Full Analysis

This game was destined to be a tricky affair, for varying reasons and circumstances. The raft of recent injuries has spread like a pandemic through the first-team squad, which was highlighted by the young blood drafted into the matchday squad. The fact that the Reds are set to face Chelsea in the EFL Cup Final this coming Sunday, would have been a consideration for those that could be risked, as well as those that could not. I suspect that two or three players that were missing against Luton will train on Friday, before making themselves available for the first trophy awarding contest of the season. It would have been vital to ensure that the visit of Luton was not taken lightly, as above all else, the Premier League title race must take absolute precedence. The team selection was widely as expected, whereas I was excited to see so many exciting young assets on the Anfield bench. I understand the pre-game jitters, yet emerging talent from the academy seems infectious this season.

Team Line-Up and Match Details

The Starting Eleven

  • GK – Caoimhin Kelleher
  • RB – Conor Bradley
  • RCB – Jarell Quansah
  • LCB – Virgil van Dijk (c)
  • LB – Joe Gomez
  • RCM – Alexis Mac Allister
  • CDM – Waturu Endo
  • LCM – Ryan Gravenberch
  • RF – Harvey Elliott
  • CF – Cody Gakpo
  • LF – Luis Díaz

Subs

  • Andy Robertson – Conor Bradley (68 mins)
  • Bobby Clark – Ryan Gravenberch (78 mins)
  • James McConnell – Alexis Mac Allister (89 mins)
  • Jayden Danns – Luis Díaz (89 mins)

https://twitter.com/benbocsak/status/1760426459649204715?s=46&t=rxgukmqdoXc4muVFLSx2EQ

Goals and Highlights

Goals

  • Liverpool 0 – 1 Luton: Chiezdozie Ogbene – 12 mins
  • Liverpool 1 – 1 Luton: Virgil van Dijk (Alexis Mac Allister) 56 mins
  • Liverpool 2 – 1 Luton: Cody Gakpo (Alexis Mac Allister) 58 mins
  • Liverpool 3 – 1 Luton: Luis Díaz (Andy Robertson) 71 mins
  • Liverpool 4 – 1 Luton: Harvey Elliott – 90 mins

Important Match Stats

  • Possession: Liverpool 61% – 39% Luton
  • Total Shots: Liverpool 29 – 12 Luton
  • Crosses: Liverpool 21 – 11 Luton
  • Corner Kicks: Liverpool 13 – 4 Luton
  • Goalkeeper Saves: Liverpool 2 – 9 Luton

First Half Analysis

The opening period of this game was lacklustre from a final third point of view, as the hosts’ indecision was coupled with a lack of invention by the attacking men in red. Though the possession and territory stakes were well controlled by the European heavyweights, the cutting edge that was needed to garner the first goal was delivered by the guests from Kenilworth Road. Following a breakaway surge from the visitors’ left flank, eventually, a driven shot squeezed through the body of Liverpool’s stand-in keeper, Caoimhin Kelleher, before being nodded home by the Luton forward, Chiezdozie Ogbene. The reds had been largely dominant up until that point, which probably caused a degree of lethargy in the defensive reactions. Though we can all assume that Alisson Becker would have been able to deal with that situation (and prevent the opening goal), it was still a move that should have seen the first phase and second ball dealt with by senior defenders.

Second Half Breakdown

On the resumption of the second half, no changes were made as possession returned swiftly to the team chasing the game. There seemed to be an uplift in tenacity and an increase in urgency, which eventually led to a corner taken by Alexis Mac Allister and the equalizing goal. Virgil van Dijk entered the penalty area with an intent to make contact with a brilliantly flighted delivery, with that contact producing a bullet header which flew into the Luton net. The leader of his team had secured the Reds’ first goal of the encounter and he never allowed his men to look back. A mere two minutes surpassed before the Argentina World Cup winner assisted once more, as he drove an unstoppable cross onto the head of Cody Gakpo. The Dutch forward was able to steer the thunderous cross into the roof of the net and suddenly, deficit turned to delight.

It would take only another thirteen minutes before the game ended as a contest, as finally Klopp’s Colombian flyer, Luis Díaz, found the back of the net with a beautifully crafted finish. His slight body movement saw him sidestep the last man, before placing the ball inside the near post. A frenzied ball-winning play by Andy Robertson created the goal, after he had entered the field for Conor Bradley. The next set of substitutions allowed Bobby Clark, James McConnell, and Jayden Danns to enter the field of play, with all three impacting immediately. The exciting striker, Danns, was especially effective in the fourth Liverpool goal, as his clever pass instigated the Harvey Elliott strike, which after a penalty box melee, he dispatched into the top corner to make the game 4-1.

https://twitter.com/anfieldindex/status/1760455657747013902?s=46&t=rxgukmqdoXc4muVFLSx2EQ

Final Thoughts and Look Ahead

This was a match where character and determination were needed more than anything else. The first half was lacking in many things, which is almost understandable considering the number of personnel adjustments that continue to be enforced. The second half was a sublime portrayal of what a world-class coach can do to reignite the fire within his underperforming group. Harvey Elliott enjoyed a very fine second half, which may well see him starting on Sunday. Alexis Mac Allister was superb alongside his very impressive Japanese teammate, whereas the defence was organized and resolute after the first goal conceded. Three first-choice attackers were missing from the desired formula tonight, however, the three that started all scored, on a night that ended with wonderful jubilation and hugs from a delighted German.

Next up Chelsea, where Virgil has a chance to lift the EFL Cup.

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