Post Match Thoughts: Liverpool V. Sporting July 24th 2019

A 2-2 draw with Sporting ends Liverpool’s US tour with a sharehold of the Western Union Cup. Overall the US tour was a bit of a slouch for the Liverpool squad losing twice and drawing once, but I’ll touch on that tomorrow. Scoreline apart I thought that Liverpool played pretty well throughout the game. Controlled possession but I felt as if they constantly were forced to hit a long ball to the opposite corner or play strictly down the wings to generate the offense. Now obviously with debatably the two best full backs in the world most of your offense is inevitably going to go down the wing. That’s all fine and dandy and it’s shown effective. But, it can’t be the only source of attack, Liverpool have to be able to show that they can play direct as well and not constantly force it down the wings. If it wasn’t for my MOTM and a dominate performance in the middle by none other than Fabinho, direct movement would’ve been limited to zero, nada, none. Every time Liverpool lost possession in their final third and the opposition tried to counter Fabinho would magically show up and clean up the mess. I mean the dude’s presence was absolutely immense and will be severely missed if not in the 11. The interceptions and tackling were one thing but his passing was on full showcase mode the entirety of the game, whether it be enticing balls splitting defenders or over the top through balls to the flying fullbacks, Fabinho played the perfect game. Off of Fabinho, I thought that Milner, when in midfield, and Henderson were direct beneficiaries of Fabinho, whether that be having the comfort to roam forward or feeling confident to make a dangerous ball because they knew the Vacuum Cleaner was behind them. Others who impressed today include both fullbacks, Virgil, and Wij, my secondary MOTM.

The fullbacks were up to their usual shenanigans bombing up forward to whip nerve-racking balls and hound the opposition in the press. Which happened all game, Trent was automatic when taking corner kicks, basically putting them on the forehead of whomever he wanted. Robbo set up the first goal after a brilliant run and an even more brilliant pull back cross. Robbo was also doing his usual, running literally all over the pitch and hounding the opposition all over. Unfortunately the second goal conceded was a direct problem from an over press by Liverpool and specifically TAA, in his defense I’d rather him be more aggressive than less.

Virgil showed a real hunger for the ball on set pieces today. Incredibly encouraging to see because he has all the tools to be the best set piece scorer in the world. All I really have on him, I hope he continues to want to put that beautiful head of hair on the ball and get more goals.

Wij as a makeshift LW was simply incredible. I can’t say that was tactical genius from Klopp since he used to play up front at both PSV and Newcastle but he looked as if he was having so much fun and was honestly kinda in his element. The runs he was making were truly superb and ended up getting his goal and should’ve had a second if it wasn’t for, hint hint, Bruno Fernandes’, who will most certainly be in tomorrows blog, tracking back.

To sum up the others, Origi got his goal but contributed nothing to the set up play the entire game, Ox had a pretty assist but wasn’t able to play centrally because Origi had occupied it. Matip and his beautiful giraffe legs made a trademarked Matip run, overall a good performance. Other than that nothing much happened, the young guns came on but nothing really to talk about, other than Sepp Van Den Berg and his 100% pass completion percentage, what a 5 minute performance. Check back tomorrow for the “10 Things I Learned About the Liverpool US Tour”. Catch Ya Then!

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