Hats off to Adam Lallana for making so many of his critiques eat their words, in the summer more than a few suggested Lallana should be moved on as he wouldn’t ever cut the mustard at Liverpool. Now the polar opposite, fast forward 6 games into the 2016/17 season, absolutely pivotal to the team and the idea of dropping Lallana would seem ludicrous. His premier league tally at 3 goals and 3 assists already this term after only 6 games compared to his 4 goals and 6 assists last season after 30 games! Lallana’s fitness levels are literally through the roof, whether that’s down to new fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer’s training methods is a possibility, though Lallana’s always had a engine on him but running over 8 miles in 1 game is incredible. It’s not just 1 game where he’s got the bit between his teeth it’s a sustained effort every game, not just running but his movements and willingness to get in behind the defence is making him a fan favourite. I’ve noticed his passing has become so much faster and precise, rather than have a few touches then get his head up, he’s premeditating the pass before he receives the ball. The stats back this up: 2015/16-30 games-982 passes-82% accuracy. 2016/17-6 games-305 passes-87% accuracy. That’s just under a third of last seasons passes in only 6 games, so much more influence on the game, he’s kept it simple but so effective. Retrieving the ball when possession is lost and instantly trying to punish their mistakes, also the pressure he puts on the other team when out of possession is immense. I’m really chuffed for Lallana, always liked his style and glad his work rate is paying off, what an absolute credit to Jürgen Klopp’s methods and it’s not gone unnoticed by the boss, who’s really took to Lallana. Klopp knew he could mould him perfectly to enhance the team, wouldn’t be surprised at all if his names the first on the team sheet on a weekly basis. Keep at it Adam, we’re all behind you.
On to the not so clever late night snapchat antics from Sakho. Just when you start to think maybe there’s a possibility of seeing him in a red shirt again, he pulls this silly stunt. Whether or not he feels mistreated, how unprofessional to air your dirty laundry to the world instead of arranging a meeting with the boss. It was a case of after being sent home from pre-season for whatever reason, of just getting your head down a training hard with a point to prove. He had some really stand out performances last season especially our Europa league heroics, really stood out as one of the main men at the back and potentially the future. Even though the defender is unlikely to be fined for claiming “I can’t accept the lie, the fans deserve to know the true”, over his absence from the team, his Anfield future looks grimmer than ever. Klopp apparently has spoken personally with Sakho, telling him he won’t be playing unless there’s a injury crisis and he doesn’t feature in his first team plans. With Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip , Ragnar Klavan, Joe Gomez, Lucas and quite possibly Kevin Stewart all now ahead of him for a central defensive position, that means he is unlikely to play for Liverpool again. I personally liked Sakho and I’m really suprised at how the whole situation has unfolded but without knowing what’s gone on in pre-season, taking a substance without the clubs permission although not a banned substance and now this. Still until I hear Jürgen Klopp openly say Sakho’s doesn’t have a future then their may be hope for the Frenchman? Klopp has also reportedly said he will not tolerate any more from Sakho as it’s disrespectful to the players that are doing well and will want to protect his squad from any disruption. Many fans stood by Sakho through this rough patch but maybe there’s more that meets the eye to this and he could be a lost cause. Anything can happen in football as we know, nevertheless it’s thin ice for Sakho, not looking good.
To end on a high note, that 5-1 display against Hull last saturday has left me still on cloud nine. All the pre-match talk was so focused on, we beat the big teams but when the so called smaller clubs come along in their parked bus we can’t break them down or lose focus. Well I think we answered that question accordingly, it was surely one of our most accomplished team efforts I’ve ever seen. Although some will say it was only against the 10 men of Hull, it was a new level of gegenpressing that we’ve not seen before. The only way to describe it was like a swarm of bees chasing the ball, but not recklessly there was a calmness to our play, a mix of crazy intense hunting down the ball to patiently slicing open their defence over and over. Our interchanging forwards/ midfielders was perfect, how hard must it be to defend against 5 players constantly changing positions and full backs then put themselves in the mix. Hull defender Curtis Davies had this to say: “That is not ill-discipline, it’s organised. – they are a very, very tough team to deal with when they are on their game.””Liverpool didn’t let us breathe. You can’t just put your mark on one player when there’s that much interchanging.”Davies also said Liverpool were the most ‘ruthless’ and ‘fluent’ attack he’d faced this season, considering Hull have faced Leicester, Manchester United and Arsenal already this season it’s quite the compliment. To say we played a high line would be a understatement, we seemed adamant that they would be pinned in their own half, with no way out. That is what impressed me the most, the team ethic to completely control the game and go all out no matter the opponent. Whereas before we’ve often scored and sat back this seems to be a thing of the past now quoted as “Jürgen’s ruthless Reds.” We’ve had some fantastic players over the years, but in terms of squads this is perhaps the best we’ve had since the fantastic team of 2008/09 that came so close to winning the premier league. To be fair probably the best team to play in the premier league and not win it.
Let’s hope we can go that step further than the iconic 2008/09 team did and if the Reds can keep this kind of form at Anfield and carry on the way we have while on the road, at least top 4 could well be a reality.
We actually out performed every team in the top 5 European leagues with the demolition of Hull last weekend. Not to get too carried away with results/ stats because they’ll be plenty of bumps in the road but the sign of a great team is how they bounce back. Maybe the Burnley disappointment was a blessing in disguise?
Next up Swansea away on the 1st of October at 12:30am……….come on you Reds!
written by Ben Webb
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