Liverpool’s fine form under Jurgen Klopp continued with a hard fought win over Swansea. The side dominated Swansea for large parts, but going by their recent history at conceding soft goals, a one goal lead always works out to be a tight contest. Four points off fourth spot and six off the top, there is growing optimism that come the end of the season, there could be something worthwhile to cheer about. We look at some of the obvious observations from the Sunday’s game in this section.
Number 11 is the number to look out for
After a mind blowing performance last week, Firmino had a pretty average week. However, the Brazilian has impressed one and all with his work ethic and if he can bring consistency to his game, he could work out to be a top top player. Klopp has described Firmino as the perfect midfielder and we can see why. He brings immense energy, skill, pace and ability on the ball to the side. One area which particularly intrigued us was his ability to recover the ball. For a player of such a frail size, Firmino is often seen dispossessing big burly defenders. He did that on 9 occasions, averaging one every 7 minutes.
Lovren deserves a mention
Dejan Lovren is a man who has braved immense criticism. However, if his performances under Klopp are anything to go by in the long run, the Croatian deserves some praise for putting the bad times behind him and improving. Yes, we still don’t like him and Skrtel trying to spray the ball around but his solidarity at the back works in his favour. He won 5 aerial duels, made 2 interceptions, 11 clearances and blocked a shot on goal. His positioning, while not perfect has improved manifold and with continued inputs from the management in place, we believe he will come good.
The full-backs have been great
Alberto Moreno has turned the ship around over the last few weeks. His confidence is surging with every game and so are his abilities on and off the ball. On the other hand, Clyne has been a picture of consistency. The English full-back has put in all round performances every time he has put on a Liverpool shirt and is a very critical element of the new look Klopp side.
They made an incredible 9 interceptions, 2 clearances and 2 blocks, while Moreno alone effected an impressive 6 successful tackles in the evening. They will continue to perform at a similar level, if not better for Liverpool to make an improvement over last year’s finish.
Emre Can is turning it up in style
After a rather timid first season, Emre Can, now deployed in a natural box to box role is stepping it up in style. He is seen as the driving force of this side, picking up the ball from deep and pushing forward. On Sunday, he was all over the park, pegging the opposition back at every opportunity. His stats for the evening read 4 successful tackles, 4 interceptions, 7 clearances, 3 blocks and 12 ball recoveries. All in all, it was another good evening for the German. With Henderson back in the mix and Can firing on all cylinders, Klopp will be readying the side for some heavy metal.
Benteke is the only let down of the game
While he did score in the mid week fixture against Bordeaux, his wastefulness didn’t go unnoticed. He was probably the biggest disappointment of the evening. He was not in sync with any of the attacking players and looked isolated at times. Sturridge’s return from injury means he is no longer the first choice number 9 at the club, irrespective of the huge transfer fee paid to land him. He will need to improve on taking his chances before Klopp decides it’s time to use him as an impact player rather than a starter.
Liverpool face Southampton in the League Cup semi-finals in midweek before travelling to Newcastle for their next league tie. With most players improving with every match day, we could be in for a surprise by the New Year.