Liverpool have beaten FC Midtjylland at Anfield to maintain their 100 per cent start in the Champions League. Goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah were enough to secure a vital three points.
It was far from a comfortable victory with Jurgen Klopp’s team worryingly off the pace from a performance perspective. The night was made worse by the injury setback to Fabinho which is the last thing the Liverpool boss would have wanted going into the weekend.
Here is a look at five things we learned from a mixed night at Anfield…
Alexander-Arnold the main creative force
There was no doubt who was Liverpool’s outstanding player on the night with Trent Alexander-Arnold by far the team’s most creative outlet from start-to-finish.
His cross-field passes consistently looked to switch up the play when space was limited and he linked up well with Xherdan Shaqiri down the right channel.
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The England international’s delivery from crosses was outstanding too. There was no surprise that the breakthrough came from Alexander-Arnold following a beautifully disguised pass from Shaqiri who found the Reds right back who then teed up Jota for the opening goal.
Overall, he made 93 passes – only Joe Gomez registered more (98) – he also enjoyed 116 touches which was more than any other player on the pitch.
He was Liverpool’s most creative outlet and it showed with Alexander-Arnold making more key passes (4) than any other Reds player.
Jota makes history
It’s been quite the immediate impact from Liverpool’s summer signing, who has found the net in three of his opening four Anfield appearances since his £41 million move from Wolves.
Remarkably, Jota’s third goal for his new club was Liverpool’s 10,000th during a history that spans over 127 years.
It may have not been a vintage performance from an attacking sense but it was still vital that Jota made a contribution considering opportunities are limited with Liverpool’s pedigreed front-three still showing no signs of slowing down.
Injuries, injuries and more injuries
Just when you think you’re bad luck has run its course, disaster strikes again. Although the extent of Fabinho’s injury is unknown, it is still a gargantuan blow considering the already lengthy list of injured players.
If there was one area of the team Liverpool could ill-afford to lose another player it was certainly at the back with both Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip currently nursing injuries.
Rhys Williams came off the bench to feature in Europe for the second consecutive week and he certainly did a job for his team.
Lack of crowd killed intensity
It should come as no surprise. We have been used to football without fans for months now.
This was one of the occasions which really drove home how flat the atmosphere is without supporters in attendance, particularly at Anfield.
The game still had the intensity you would expect from two top sides, but as an occasion, it was lacking. Liverpool went through the motions in the first half and you could only think that this just wouldn’t have been allowed had 60,000 supporters been rammed in under the Anfield lights.
It is staggering to believe it has been since March where supporters were able to cheer on the Reds in Europe. This wasn’t quite the same.
It probably worked to the advantage of the opposition early on, with FC Midtjylland looking surprisingly imposing in the opening minutes and even had the chance of the first half.
Command of Group D
Mohamed Salah’s late penalty ensured Liverpool made it two wins from two as well as back-to-back clean sheets in Europe.
The victory also puts the Reds in a commanding position in the group already following Atalanta’s 2-2 draw with Ajax.
If we win our next two home matches against the Italian outfit, which is easier said than done, we will qualify. It may not have been a performance to remember but the result is the best possible way to maintain momentum in the competition.
- Reds now have an unpredictable approach which Klopp must master
- Klopp’s recent formation change offers Minamino long-term hope
- Reds fans react as club confirm move to Kirkby training complex
- Thiago back at Melwood and could feature against West Ham
- Diogo Jota is already threatening to disrupt Klopp’s pedigreed front-three
- Joe Gomez has been handed task that could define his Reds career
- Wijnaldum continues to prove why the club can’t let him go
- Curtis Jones could be Klopp’s 2020/21 Trent Alexander-Arnold at Anfield
- Fabinho and Gomez could provide perfect defensive solution