Football News: Liverpool v Spartak Moskva Match Review - A Liverpool Perspective

 

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Liverpool v Spartak Moskva Match Review - A Liverpool Perspective
Image from: thepolisblog.org

Liverpool v Spartak Moskva


If the performance against Brighton at the weekend was dominant, then I have no idea what term to use for this one! It was a demolition. In fact I would go so far as to say that 7-0 maybe slightly flattered them as Liverpool could easily have scored more, if they chose to. It was clear that the plan was to do more than just get a lead and sit on it, allowing them back into it and giving them hope. The plan was to put the game out of sight of Spartak and kill it completely by smothering them when they got possession and then attacking quickly.

At times Spartak were making silly errors, but they had been harried and harrassed by LFC players into rushing everything and it made them very panicky and rushed, even when they did get a moment to calm things. They were reduced to hitting it from anywhere and hoping or looking for a set piece to create something from. Liverpool, on the other hand, were cutting them apart at will, as they were forced to push forward in the hope they could rescue something from the game.

Some of the goals Liverpool scored were sublime, there was luck, skill, teamwork and hard work involved in a true mix of goals. When the four up front are on that form, they are pretty much unstoppable. There were still a few worries with the central midfield pairing, who were, at times, very slow to spot danger and allowed themselves to get drawn forward on breaks they had no need to be involved in. Once the Reds were in front, those two should have sat and supported attacks, rather than trying to get involved high up the pitch. Pick up the loose balls, snuff out counters etc, that is all they needed to do.

What I enjoyed most was that it was a team performance, no one had a bad game at all, and I had to really watch closely to find any genuine things to pick at on the minus side. It was so difficult not to just gush about how great they played last night, as they really were a class above the opposition. Admittedly Spartak struggle away from home, but I do not remember them ever shipping goals like that in the Champions League.


Klopp - got the selection spot on. What amounted to an 'old-fashioned' 4-4-2 threw Spartak out and took the game to them in a way they just could not begin to handle. Never let the players relax and rest on their laurels to allow the Russians any hope.


Karius - did make a mistake with a rush of blood when he charged out to deal with a ball that Gomez was always going to get but, other than that, he had a good steady game. Looked confident and was very good at springing the ball straight out to launch quick attacks the moment he got the ball.


Gomez - calm and assured once more. He is growing as a player with the experience he is getting and played very well.


Lovren - had a really good game, though under little real pressure.


Klavan - solid, assured and played some good passes.


Moreno - was doing well until his injury. He has improved so much and it was a genuine disappointment that he picked up a knock. While his final ball still needs work, his defensive decision making has much improved.


Can - had a decent game, did what he does well very well. At times he was reacting to danger and filling in, particularly early doors. The problem is that he is too interested in getting forward and neglects his defensive duties when the lead is a decent one.


Wijnaldum - like Can he can be neglectful of the defensive side of the game but he looked a lot more comfortable back in the midfield. I would like to see him do more to protect the back four.


Mane - was excellent at times, though he did make a few wrong decisions when he got forward, he was a constant danger and that volleyed goal of his was a thing of beauty.


Firmino - what a player, his goal, while it was lucky to drop to him, was a superb hit with the outside of the boot and the pass to set up Coutinho's second was excellent unselfish team play. He was superb once again with his pressing off the ball as well as his play on it.


Salah - played up top alongside Firmino and linked up really well with the Brazilian. Also scored again. It does not seem to matter where he plays, he causes havoc and panic amongst the opposition.


Coutinho - started the match as captain and put in a captain's performance. Not just the hat trick, but the way he was the one checking on Moreno when he was injured, taking responsibility for the penalty, it showed he took it seriously. I remain to be convinced he is a long term captain, but at least he made the effort to do the job while he had the armband on.


Subs:

Milner - replaced the injured Moreno in injury time at the end of the first half. Had almost nothing to do defensively but delivered a delicious cross for Mane's volley and got forward well.

Alexander-Arnold - his arrival in place of Lovren in the 60th minute saw Gomez shift central while he took over the right fullback berth. Never really tested defensively and did ok going forward.

Sturridge - allowed Firmino to sit and have a rest ahead of the derby at the weekend when he came on in the 72nd minute. He struggled a bit to get on the same wavelength as the others, but he did provide the pass for one of the goals, though it was behind Mane and he had to reach back to hook it in. He does not look quite on the same page as the others at the moment.

Written by Tris Burke



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