Callum Molyneaux lists his top five Liverpool performances from the 2016/17 season.
Jürgen Klopp has made Liverpool an incredibly exciting team to watch and while last season brought us European nights against the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Villarreal, this season hasn’t exactly been short of drama or excitement.
Here are my top five performances from the men in Red this season.
Chelsea v Liverpool (1-2) September 2016
The game against Chelsea, the eventual champions, was a huge test for Liverpool. There were tough games previously, with away trips to Arsenal and Spurs, but Chelsea presented a different challenge. An early goal from Dejan Lovren and then a wonder goal from Jordan Henderson gave us the three points, despite conceding a late goal.
That night, Liverpool defended really well as a unit, which wasn’t seen much throughout the season. What I remember most was seeing Mané and Coutinho tracking back with Chelsea’s full-backs every time, something you wouldn’t assume with both players, especially Coutinho.
The result was part of an unbeaten run in the league starting from the end of August until December. It was an 11 game unbeaten run until defeat against Bournemouth
Liverpool v Watford (6-1) November 2016
Liverpool’s game against Watford resulted in the most goals scored by Liverpool in a single game this season. It was 4-0 by halftime, thanks to goals from Coutinho, Can and two goals from Mané. Firmino and a late Gini Wijnaldum goal meant a 6-1 win.
It was arguably Liverpool’s most complete performance of the season, with fast flowing football and the link up between Coutinho, Firmino and Mané that day showed that Liverpool could be a force to be reckoned with.
Liverpool v Arsenal (3-1) March 2017
After a poor run of results in January and February, it was a crucial game to try to get back on track. Liverpool were 2-0 up by half time, thanks to goals from Firmino and Mané.
In the first half especially, it was the best pressing seen from a Liverpool team all season. Arsenal just couldn’t deal with the high pressing set by Klopp, which meant Arsenal couldn’t play their normal game of retaining the ball. The game finished 3-1 thanks to a late goal from Wijnaldum.
The second half Arsenal started to play better as we couldn’t match the high pressing game played in the first half. Instead, though, we defended well and it was one of the most impressive games of the season in terms of game management.
It was Liverpool’s last game against a team in the top six. After the win it meant that we were undefeated against the top six, winning five games and drawing the other five. These results against the bigger teams ensured that the Reds finished fourth, above Arsenal.
Liverpool v Everton (3-1) April 2017
When the league fixtures get released, one of the first fixtures to look at is when the Merseyside Derby is, especially at home, and this game was no different. Liverpool got off to a fast start thanks to Sadio Mané yet again, but Everton equalised minutes later with Pennington scoring on his debut. Coutinho restored the lead with a solo goal just before half time.
Liverpool controlled the game second half and Origi added a third goal. The game was marred for Liverpool due to a serious knee injury to Mané, which ruled him out for the rest of the season. However, the Reds played high tempo football, something Everton couldn’t deal with. It was another miserable short trip home for Everton!
West Ham v Liverpool (0-4) May 2017
The recent game against West Ham was a huge game for the Reds. The pressure was on due to both Man City and Arsenal winning, meaning Liverpool slipped down to fifth in the league. However with all that pressure, Liverpool delivered with an emphatic win.
Sturridge scored Liverpool’s first, with his first start since February before Coutinho grabbed a brace. Liverpool sealed the win with a fourth as West Ham caved and Divock Origi was gifted a sloppy goal.
There was a change of formation, reverting to 4-4-2 diamond with Coutinho playing in a deeper position, allowing him to dictate the game. Klopp said that week that this could be a position Coutinho could be playing a lot more, which is exciting to see! The win meant that top four was in our hands yet again and a week later, against Middlesbrough, Liverpool finished the job at Anfield.