The match ended 4-1 to Liverpool, and just as we anticipated, the atmosphere played a telling part. And how couldn’t it? Sitting miles away, I had chills running up my spine just being an armchair spectator. To be there, present, being a witness to the sheer, churning sea of electricity make your hair stand up, and then, then to be a part of the procession out there in the middle. Dear god. The players may have felt the essence of what it’d have been like, being gladiators, and the opponents, a feeling akin to being invited to a sheep’s slaughter.
#1 Juergen Klopp And His Players Have The Ultimate Responsibility
Today was a historic day, in the storied history of Liverpool Football Club. Posterity may look back to 10th September 2016, as the day Anfield was stirred awake. The addition of 8,500 more voices chanting till their throats caved in, was the lifeblood of this comprehensive victory over the Premier League Champions. A lifeblood that had gushed through the veins of this club for the better part of a century, and fuel for the Bastion of Invincibility that Bill Shankly once imagined, and saw to its fulfilment. Mediocrity over the past two decades and more has made that fuel anaemic. The custodians of the club, FSG, Misters John W Henry, Tom Werner transfused £115million worth of steel and concrete into the stadium, to remedy that ailment. And it seems like the club is finally in good spirits.
That being said, though, Klopp his charges will have to face the ultimate task any team or manager will face in club football – no, not the trophies, they are just a by-product. What they have to do, is to re-establish Anfield as a fortress through their vicarious, Viking-like performances. With the crowd that they have, the rest is easy.
#2 Daniel Sturridge and His Shawshank Redemption
Relegated to the sidelines at Tottenham, and brought on at the dying embers of the match, without being allowed to make any discernable difference in the outcome of the big match, Sturridge had a long time to mull over his self-serving, public opinion polling comments and its ramifications over the international break. And it seems like Juergen Klopp’s passive aggressive/not-so-subtle gesture to discount him from the starting 11, has done the trick.
Against Leicester, Daniel was all over the pitch (no, not in that way, in a good omnipresent sort of a way), charging back into midfield, retrieving possession, using his undoubted pace to get to loose balls to which his team-mates couldn’t, and putting in vital interceptions, Daniel Sturridge played the role of a complete centre-forward to near-perfection. What was more impressive, is that he voluntarily drifted out wide to accommodate the central verticality of a rampaging Roberto Firmino, who with Dan’s constant interchanging on the left-flank, was impossible to mark.
Daniel, while he wasn’t able to get himself on the scoresheet, perhaps played one of his best matches as a Liverpool player, assisting two goals, while playing a crucial part in the build-up of all the 4, the first of which highlighted the aforementioned chemistry with Bob Firmino. This could be his coming of age.
#3 Bob Firmino Is The Footballing Ninja
Where do I start? Roberto Firmino is the footballing equivalent of a switch-blade knife. Stealthy and fatal. Every time he was involved with the ball, Liverpool’s passages of play looked to threaten, and for periods he was deprived of possession in the first-half, Liverpool suffered. Involved in each of the 4 goals, it’s clear to see, that in terms of functionality in Juergen Klopp’s attacking juggernaut, the Brazilian may be the most pivotal. With Sadio Mane coming a close second.
Brazilian on the ball, and a German off of it, the former Hoffenheim man is a hipster’s wet dream. Scored two goals to sign off a 10/10 performance, his movement was like a Ninja’s and would surely infiltrate the young Daniel Amartey’s nightmares for days to come. [More on him in a sexy, sexy feature piece on today’s edition of T4O].
#4 Lucas’ Laconic Lucidity
Despite coming close to usurping Djimi Traore’s magnificent faux pas, where the former Champions League winner scored a Zidane Roulette own goal in an FA Cup third round fixture vs Burnley away from home, Lucas persisted. Dwelling on the ball in the box is a cardinal sin of defending, and while Lucas was guilty of it, and in the process setting up Jamie Vardy from 2 yards away, he did make up for his errors by the virtue of his presence in midfield – Providing balance, steel, the critical ease in transition from defence to attack and the simple yet conspicuous timely challenge. The economy in possession of the sole outright defensive midfielder in the Liverpool ranks, was a breath of fresh air, with Lucas experience and newfound drive rendering Riyadh Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater useless. He didn’t look slow in the tackle for once.
#5 Lallana’s Revival
Lallana’s goal, 2nd in two important matches (Arsenal, and now vs Leicester) is a testament to good coaching. Being in the right place at the right time can’t always be because of a stroke of luck, it happens through conditioning. Converting Adam Lallana to a central midfield presence of a shuttler may be one of the most under-rated bits of coaching expeditions undertaken by Herr Juergen.
#6 Joel Matip, The Smooth Criminal
Stylish and uncompromising, the Cameroonian international may be the most understated transfer of this season, arriving from Schalke of the Bundesliga with a nominal fee of nada. Vigilant without the ball, and assured with it, his height of 6’4″ belies his technical abilities, that would not be found wanting in the role of a sweeper.
#7 Specsavers Should Be Liverpool’s Newest Sponsors
The amount of times Juergen Klopp drops his glasses [as he did today] when Liverpool score a goal, there’s a potential marketing opportunity with Specsavers [eye gear] should be in the offing. Considering, from the looks of it, the sheer number of times Liverpool are going to score goals this season. Win-win for all.