Amid all the attention surrounding Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Chelsea ace Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City sensation Jack Grealish, the same old Liverpool side made their presence known on Sunday evening by clinching a commanding 3-0 win against Leeds United at Elland Road. If it weren’t for Sadio Mane’s wastefulness, the margin would have been bigger.
However, the game got jaded around the hour mark following a horrible injury endured by Liverpool’s 18-year-old wonderkid Harvey Elliott. The youngster grabbed a starting role ahead of Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson, but he might have to begin from scratch to reclaim a place upon recovering from this potential long-term setback.
Here, at The 4th Official, we will take a look at three key takeaways for Liverpool in their comprehensive victory.
Crisis In Liverpool Midfield Amid Fixture Congestion
Jurgen Klopp promoted Elliott instead of roping in a new midfielder this summer. The plan was working exquisitely before an apparent routine tackle from Pascal Struijk dislocated his ankle. The Reds still have ample alternatives in the centre of the pitch, but the busy schedule ahead might result in more casualties given their poor injury record.
James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are in their thirties, whereas the likes of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have spent months on the sidelines since joining the club. Klopp, therefore, needs to rotate the midfield options and bring Curtis Jones back to his starting lineup after a standout 2020-21 season.
Mane Frustrates In Spite Of A Late Goal
Might sound bizarre, but the Senegalese superstar had another dreadful outing from the left-hand flank. He was not at his best during the previous campaign but the fans were hoping to witness his resurgence with all guns blazing. It hasn’t happened yet though as he continues to disappoint with the ball at his feet.
Mane was terrible against ten-man Chelsea prior to the break. He failed to threaten the Blues at Anfield, however, could have netted a hat-trick this evening, to say the least, had he not wasted a plethora of glorious opportunities. He was fed by his teammates time and again but kept on missing the target from every possible angle. He was cheered sarcastically by the crowd whenever an attempt was made and the reaction of his teammates following the late strike told everything about his struggles.
Roberto Firmino is no more the player he used to be a couple of seasons back and with Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino’s mediocrity, the gaffer is trying out Oxlade-Chamberlain as a makeshift ‘False 9’. The lack of depth, form, as well as quality in the attacking third, might trouble the Reds going forward.
Liverpool Won’t Give Up The Title Chase Despite Minuscule Spending
The Merseysiders do not have the spending power of the Manchester clubs and Chelsea, but they would certainly fight for the silverware despite limitations. Mo Salah’s majestic scoring record, Fabinho in defensive midfield, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk as the central defensive pairing, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson with their marauding runs down the flanks and Alisson Becker between the sticks have all that takes to defy the odds and silence the critics. It is to be seen now whether the fitness woes and the form of Mane and Firmino improve in due time.
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