Reds are top of the table again... and in Salah they are blessed with summit special
THIS is why they are champions, this is why, more than likely, they will be champions again.
This is why they are top of the table. Again.
There has already been one spectacular blip this season but this remains a Liverpool team that refuses to accept anything other than victory. It really is as simple as that.
That blip came at Villa Park but the patience and resolve shown at Anfield in their past three Premier League matches shows why Jurgen Klopp’s team have to be favourites to secure another title.
In each of those games, they have gone behind. In each of those games, they have found a way to come back and triumph.
A brilliant pass from one substitute to another, Xherdan Shaqiri to Diogo Jota, and an emphatic finish was the way they found here.
But however it arrives, you pretty much know it is coming.
They might be searching for an extra bit of flair, they might be vulnerable, but they remain relentless.
There was the seven- goal aberration against Villa but even in the draw at Goodison Park, they thought they had won it at the death.
One way or another, they never stop. And one way of finding their way back into a game is often through the menace of Mohamed Salah.
He shot to the ground as though he had just been tazered rather than had his foot gently clipped by Arthur Masuaku.
No-one hits the deck quite like Salah. No-one hits from the penalty spot quite like Salah. He is 13 from his last 13. While Masuaku’s offence which allowed Liverpool to cancel out Pablo Fornals’ early strike WAS a penalty offence, Salah’s theatrics were not consistent with the contact.
But if that is what it takes for a referee to recognise a crime then Salah will feel justified. After all, had he stayed on his feet, the chances are that Kevin Friend would not have penalised Masuaku. In fact, you know he would not have.
And the bottom line is Salah makes things happen. He has made things happen from the day he walked through the Anfield door.
He creates panic, smuggles himself into the unlikeliest of gaps, and has a thunderous snapshot.
And that covers only a fraction of his all-round game.
He was not at his most thrilling here but still radiated threat. And with options such
as Shaqiri and Jota, Klopp ( below) will be delighted with his attacking choices.
He might be a little more concerned with his defence.
Those concerns are not just limited to physical l well wellbeing. Joe Gomez is s fit and healthy but ut looks a little short t of confidence.
Sometimes, he looks like a fullback playing at centre-back.
This was one of f those moments.
While Masuaku’s cross was a decent one, it should have been dispatched from danger as a matter of routine. Instead, Gomez’s header was a goldplated assist for Fornals who had an age to craft a precise finish.
That type of defending has been ty typical of Liverpool for aw a while.
Since the day Klopp’s team were confirmed as champions, no Premier League team has conceded more g goals – and Virgil van Dij Dijk was around for a good chunk c of that time. Perhaps Liv er p o o l ’ s vulnerability has not just been down to inconsistencies in the back four. You suspect Klopp would pay good money for the type of midfield protection Declan Rice gives West Ham.
Liverpool were not terribly exposed but had Fornals not scandalously ignored Jarrod Bowen, they could have been facing a rare Anfield reverse.
Instead, after VAR and Friend’s viewing of a monitor had rightly cancelled out Jota’s first effort, up stepped the substitute to canter through the West Ham defence and secure yet another Premier League win at Anfield.
An inspired substitution, and Liverpool and Klopp had found another way to win.
JOT SHOT Diogo Jota celebrates scoring the winner against West Ham