An early thunderbolt from Jetro Willems had us wondering if another away upset was on the cards, but a few avoidable errors and some slick Liverpool finishing gave the Reds yet another home win.
The first-half was a tale of two halves. Willems’ sensational strike left Anfield stunned just 7 minutes in, and we continued to frustrate them over the next 20 minutes, defending as a unit and protecting Martin Dubravka’s goal brilliantly. We not only posed a threat on the counter, seeing Atsu, Joelinton and Almiron link up well, but were keeping their key men as quiet as I’ve seen them all season.
Sadly, some poor defending by Emil Krafth – who overcommitted and lost out in a key 50/50 with Andy Robertson – left a gap in our previously organised back five, allowing Mane to get a rare sight of goal – and he finished emphatically.
From that point on we were camped in our own half and they had their tails up, although their killer second goal was completely self inflicted, with Atsu losing the ball in a bad area and Dubravka failing to gather a through ball, allowing Mane to tap into an empty net.
We had a go in the early stages of the second half, but Liverpool had control of the game at this point, with Roberto Firmino on and pulling the strings.
Krafth had a huge chance to make it 2-2 but blazed over, and it didn’t take long for Liverpool to punish us, with Firmino’s incredible flick into Mo Salah killing the game off at 3-1.
It’s always frustrating to lose a game when you take the lead, but there were a few positives to take from this one, with us looking well drilled for the most part, competing well against Champions League winners and carrying a threat in attack at times.
Atsu looked very sharp once again and would’ve bagged 2 assists if Krafth could finish, Joelinton held up the ball well once again and showed glimpses of class, Shelvey worked hard, Hayden was strong in the tackle, Willems showed his quality with a stunning strike and a good range of passing. The three centre-backs defended well in the main, making some key interceptions and blocks, although Emil Krafth had a bit of a stinker at both ends, struggling to cope with Robertson all afternoon and missing a big chance to make it 2-2 early in the second half.
Defeats like today won’t define our season, and there’s a few promising signs to take into next weekend’s crucial home game against Brighton.