Quick Hits is my new series of short takes, probably typed from my phone, on topics I can’t find the time to write full articles on. If you want straight to the point analysis and commentary on a bunch of topics, this is the place to go.
Liverpool opened the season with a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham United at Anfield. It was tough to point to a true weak spot on the field for the Reds as their strong pre-season form continued straight into the campaign. Although it’s hard to narrow it down in a win like that, here are some of my thoughts on the top performances from today.
When you score two goals you’re probably going to make this list, but Mane’s performance impressed beyond just being on the receiving end of two great passes from Milner and Firmino (ok, one was definitely offside). I thought Mane had a tendency to disappear for entire games last year and that was certainly not the case today. He attacked the box with the ball better, won two fouls, had some great passes, and created multiple chances. With Salah having a mediocre game (by his high standard, of course), it was great to see Mane be a playmaker on the other side. Having an in-form Mane all season could be the difference maker between Liverpool and City in the title race.
I didn’t think I had a favorite player on the team headed into this season, but Robertson came out and made a strong case today. His work ethic is the best on the team, which I admit is certainly not new information. Even in the 87th minute he was the furthest player up the pitch pressuring the ball and busting his ass. He combined that today, though, with several beautiful crosses. Our first two goals were results of Robertson crosses and he played several other balls in that were just as dangerous. If he can build on last season’s form, he could make a case for best left back in the Premier League by season’s end.
Keita was another player that had everyone buzzing during the pre-season and he continued to dominate the ball today, as well. He was just as strong winning and recovering the ball as he was carving through West Ham’s midfielders. Robertson will get the assist on Salah’s goal, but it was Keita’s run and perfectly laid pass that set everything up. He never stopped running, he was silky smooth in possession, and he was absolutely the foundation of our sharpness going forward. Looks like Liverpool has finally found the ball controlling midfielder we lacked all last season.
The Substitutes Not Named Jordan Henderson
Jordan Henderson, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Daniel Sturridge came off the bench for the Reds and Shaqiri and Sturridge definitely made use of their limited run. Shaqiri found himself on the ball several times in the last 10 minutes and looked poised and comfortable in his touches and his passing while Sturridge wasted no time burying his first goal of the season (seeing that dance brought back some great feelings). Both players will surely see quite a bit of action as substitutes and both showed that they will be able to change up our attack in important situations. Henderson was flat and probably the worst player on the pitch for the Reds today. He’s not used to coming off the bench and probably will return to the starting 11 soon, so hopefully that will help adjust whatever was going wrong today. But our midfield became shockingly more chaotic when he came on to the pitch.
Overall, this was pretty much everything we could have hoped for in an opening match. Keita already looks like he will put himself in the conversation for Premier League individual honors and the attack picked up right where they left off last season. Allison and the defenders didn’t have much work to do today so it’s tough to get a great read on that unit, but after last season a clean sheet is a clean sheet and that’s good enough for me. It’s going to be a fun season so keep checking back for more news and analysis and Let’s Go Reds.
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