This match was a thrilling training ground routine for Jürgen Klopp’s rambunctiously rapid Liverpool. The former Manchester United no.2, the current Hull City boss, Mike Phelan’s ploy of putting 10 men behind the ball backfired abhorrently, inviting a team with a voracious appetite gnaw up any chance of an upset.
Here’s T4O three key takeaways from the exhibition at Anfield.
#1 Bob Firmino Is Virtually Unmarkable
The graphic that you’re shown at the start of the game would lead you to believe that the former Hoffenheim hotshot was starting as a centre-forward, in a conventional number 9 role, that English football falls are ordinarily aware of. The concept of a False 9 is lost on many a crowd, but not a Liverpool crowd. Luis Suarez exploits have educated the Anfield faithful of the ways of an attacker that knows no bounds, and fits no cookie-cutter, and they relished it for as long as it lasted.
Bob the Brazilian who plays like a German, but is secretly a ninja [we have a running suspicion that he has some Japanese in his blood due to the high percentage of Far Eastern expats in the sunny South American nation]. He sure did start up on the top, but he came as deep as Joel Matip’s line to relieve offer himself as an option to pass to.
The keystone of Bob’s game is facilitating the players around him with is movement; such is his stealth, that even when you think that he’s having a 6/10 game, he’s probably putting in an 8. His runs were crucial in others taking up the central role in turns.
#2 James Milner Is Clark Kent
Quiet, unassuming, goes about his job, then before you know it, he has an assist or a goal to his name, playing from left-back. Much was said about him when the unfancied ex-England international was handed the role of a vice-captain of Liverpool Football Club and much more was said when he was slotted in at left-back when a stubborn [/resolute] Jürgen Klopp refused to cave in to fan pressure. Boring James Milner kept turning up whenever the team needed him the most, and his latest performance vs Hull City underpins his performances vs Tottenham, Leicester, and Chelsea.
He might not be the left-back Liverpool deserve, but certainly a hero they need… Wait, that was a Batman reference…
#3 Adam Lallana and End Product – Better Love Story Than Casablanca
Standing ovation for Adam Lallana, what a lad. From being a mannequin for Nivea, he’s now the model of Liverpool’s attacking narrative. Incessantly harrying, constantly shuttling possession from the defence to the frontline. Scored one with an impeccable scuff on the shot, and body shape to take it away and tuck it into the bottom corner. His Cruyff turn for Sadio Mane’s goal was obscene, scandalous. He might need a confessional on Sunday, the lad.