Dave Davis has a look at what Liverpool can take away from their FA Cup triump over Everton at Anfield this week.
Scripted for van Dijk
You had a feeling, didn’t you? When Gylfi Sigurdsson made it 1-1, you started to think: who was capable of notching another in a game low on quality? The £75 million man had already given Everton warnings of his intentions earlier when he cushioned a header to Pickford he maybe should have done better with.
The Dutch defender wasn’t to be denied though and it topped off a man of the match performance. He won everything in the air, looked great with the ball at his feet and resonated confidence. A great start for the record buy, whose reaction at the final whistle said it all.
Robertson comes of age
It’s not been the easiest of starts for the Scotsman at Anfield, where he’s often found himself on the bench or out the squad altogether. Robertson’s done what’s asked of him since Moreno’s injury and without doing anything wrong, he’s not particularly shined either.
He was on it from the first whistle though, showing the desire, aggression and drive that’s often not seen in recent derbies. Five tackles, four clearances, one interception and eight turnovers were the highlights for the former Hull full-back. He had as good a shout as van Dijk for the man of the match award too. Looks a bargain at £8 million.
The ability to grind it out
When discussing Liverpool’s best wins this season people will look at the destructions of Maribor, Spartak and Arsenal. Free-flowing football hasn’t been abandoned, but Jurgen Klopp’s men are showcasing a side many thought they didn’t have.
Coming from behind against Leicester, combined with late winners in the derby and against Burnley will be pleasing to all Reds. The same people can’t be relied upon all the time and to win without arguably our two most important players in back-to-back games is a huge confidence boost. Other teams will sit back against us this season and that quality will be needed.
Midfield without Coutinho looked worrying.
The build-up to the game had naturally been dominated by the pending departure of the Brazilian playmaker. What was majorly concerning though was how ineffective the midfield looked without him. Adam Lallana looked rusty which was to be expected after such a lengthy layoff as the game seemed too quick for him and his touch didn’t seem as crisp as before.
Emre Can made occasional contributions, although his passing would still be labeled erratic at best. Milner netted his penalty and again worked hard, but that’s the lay off the ground currently. Workman-like but lacking that guile.
Gomez still needs to develop
The praise has quite rightly showered down on the 20-year-old since his international debut against Brazil. Many Reds fancy him to be van Dijk’s eventual partner at the back and Gomez had a decent game overall.
The only niggling concern is that there have been a few mistakes creeping into the former Charlton man’s game in recent weeks. Lapses of concentration against Arsenal and Burnley were followed up by getting caught on the ball or over-complicating things in a gritty derby.
Gomez is still developing and must be given time, but it’s understandable why Klopp hasn’t played him centrally yet.