In what turned out to be a nervy encounter at Vicarage Road, Liverpool won 1-0 on the night and took a huge step towards securing Champions League football for next season.

When Adam Lallana’s beautiful volley cannoned off the underside of the crossbar, I was under the impression it was going to be another frustrating evening for Liverpool.

Oh, how mistaken I was.

Lucas Leiva picked out Emre Can’s marauding run into the box perfectly and the German threw himself into the air and met the ball with a brilliant acrobatic bicycle kick.

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Despite Can’s beautiful goal, it was hardly a spotless performance from Liverpool. Philippe Coutinho picked up a thigh injury in the fourth minute of the game and had to be substituted for Adam Lallana, who made his return from injury.

Coutinho’s premature withdrawal interrupted the rhythm that Liverpool had established in the opening stages but few excuses can be made for the lack of tempo and energy that was on show.

Considering that Liverpool don’t have any cup competitions to focus on, and haven’t since February, the lack of tempo can’t be blamed on a congested fixture list.

 
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What struck me this evening was how poor Divock Origi looked. His touch wasn’t watertight and he was cumbersome to the point that any chance of counter attacking was ruled out when he received the ball.

He had one chance to strike the ball from 25 yards but Daniel Sturridge did more in 10 minutes than he did in 85.

There’s no point shifting Roberto Firmino out wide when it marginalises him if Origi isn’t going to deliver. We know from his hot streak last year that he is capable but we need to see it more consistently.

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With three points tonight, Liverpool go three clear of Manchester City, four ahead of Manchester United and nine ahead of Arsenal. The Manchester clubs both have a game in hand over Liverpool and the Gunners two.

With Arsenal taking on United this weekend, things are looking good for Jurgen Klopp and his side. Champions League qualification would be a tremendous achievement for Liverpool this season with all things considered.

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