Once again it feels as if so much has happened in a few short weeks for Liverpool FC in the Premier League, although it has to be said that things seem very different for all of the teams this time round. I think it is fair to say that the complete absence of fans in the stadiums is having a profound effect on the atmosphere of the beautiful game. However this is something that teams will need to adapt to as there is no chance of anything changing in the near future, especially with the implementation of the new national lockdown this week.
Derby Day Blues
I’ll admit I was nervous for our Derby match against our closest neighbours and rivals. They were having a fantastic start to the season and looked to be on top form going into Derby Day. However, I like many Liverpool fans were left extremely disappointed and I would go so far as to say angry at what transpired throughout the game.
Where do I begin? The tackles and injuries to come out of the game were shocking to say the least. The absolutely shameful challenge on Virgil Van Dijk by Everton Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was painful to watch, not just for Liverpool fans but for any fan watching. To see a player of such caliber receive a season ending injury that has left him requiring surgery is a devastating blow to the team and Virgil himself and I’m sure that all of the fans wish him a speedy recovery. There is no doubt that Everton were not playing their best at the Derby and there were one too many vicious tackles for what should always be a friendly rivalry match. I think what affected the Liverpool fans and the team so much was the seeming lack of action to be taken against Pickford. There is no doubt in my mind and many others that Pickford should have been sent off.
The rest of the game was a tense affair. You could see the fire in the team, having lost one of their own to injury meant that their hunger for a victory was even greater but the drama did not stop there. Another bad tackle on Thiago, thankfully resulting in a straight red for Richarlison meant that he has also not played since, stalling his so far impressive debut for the reds. Finally, the kick in the teeth that no Red wanted to face was our final goal, an absolute screamer by Henderson which was disallowed for offside by VAR. Now, many say that Liverpool (or LiVARpool) fans are often bitter and complain about VAR decisions that go against us in the game but the margin in which Sadio Mane was ruled offside in the build up to Henderson’s disallowed goal was microscopic and to many, including Henderson himself, seemed like an abuse of the system, but the less said about that as a Liverpool fan the better!
Overall it was a poor show and a disappointing result for both teams. Here’s hoping our next derby fixture will be better.
Following the injury of Virgil and Thiago, it seems as if the injuries are never ending for the squad at the moment. Fabhino was taken off during the FC Midtjylland fixture with a Hamstring injury and thus left Klopp with some gaps in the team. With the Manchester City game looming this weekend, it is not looking likely that Thiago and Fabhino will be playing and so we are left to wonder how Klopp will structure his starting eleven and if he will give a chance to some of the less experienced members of the team. Nat Philips was given his Premier League debut for the Reds at the weekend against West Ham and was awarded Man of the Match for his performance. Could he be one of the players who will seize the opportunity to shine through?
Jota the Slotter
In some lighter news and away from the injury woes, Diogo Jota, everyone’s new favourite Portuguese King has had a flying start to his career at Liverpool. He has now scored seven goals in ten appearances (six goals in his last four matches) for the Reds and even bagged a hat-trick during the Atalanta match earlier this week. He seems to have settled right in as part of the team and is playing with real fluidity and style. His performance at our 5-0 win against Atalanta this week was phenomenal and he is really proving himself to be a worthy selection for Mr Klopp. Goals from Sadio Mane and Mo Salah made for one of those exciting European nights and Jota really looked at home in the front three. There has been some speculation as to whether Jota would become a replacement for Bobby Firmino who has only scored one goal in his last ten appearances but Klopp insists that Bobby’s place in the starting line up isn’t under threat. However it is nice to have the option of a player like Jota who is performing so well right now.
Moving on from a tough few weeks
This is now a real turning point for the team, in my opinion. With the loss of some key players over the last few games, it is time for the squad to prove that they won’t lose their head and keep playing the way we know they can. Injuries will heal, although it is longer in some cases and players will return, hopefully better than ever and ready to play again. We have to believe in the squad we have and more importantly they need to believe in themselves. We are reigning PL champions, Super Cup, Champions League and Club World Cup winners. Nothing can stop us when we put our mind to it and most of all, we are Liverpool.
You’ll Never Walk Alone