Thoughts on the destruction of Southampton and more
By Dave Turner – @DTurnerSports
It was another banner day for Liverpool under the tutelage of one Jurgen Klopp, one that might be yet another sign of good things to come for the Reds.
With their eyes set on now the Capital One Cup semifinals, as well as impending advancement in the Europa league and a march up the Premier League table that sees them sit just six points off the top spot, suddenly, there is an explosion of strong play from the Merseyside club that has impressed both supporters and media pundits alike.
The 6-1 obliteration of Southampton, a quality side from the pitch at St. Mary’s is just the latest chapter in what seems to be a stark turnaround for a club that was floundering in a pit of mediocrity just a few months ago.
Here are some points of discussion as the team heads into the weekend with a highly winnable clash against Newcastle from St. James Park.
- Divock Origi finally showed the quality that has been expected of him since his arrival. Though the first goal of his eventual hat-trick was mostly done by the work of a screaming Alberto Moreno ball from outside the 18 yard box, Origi’s second goal, a ripper that was neatly tucked under the bar just oozed class. He’s young and needs more time to improve, but he clearly showed that he can be a viable striker option, when called upon.
- Speaking of Alberto, those transfer rumors should go away. Alberto Moreno had a checkered past during his tenure as a Red, but he’s been strong under Klopp. Considering that finding another quality left back isn’t exactly easy, selling the Spaniard, even if the return is a large sum, just doesn’t make sense. Even if those funds could be used to grab someone off the transfer market, addition by subtraction wouldn’t make sense right now.
- Daniel Sturridge reels us in once again, in the face of scrutiny. Simply put, he’s one of the best finishers in the Premier League. When he’s on his game, he brings such a different element to this club that would be hard to replace. Sure, Origi looks promising and Christian Benteke has shown flashes of brilliance, but Origi is still unproven and Benteke has shown that he lacks the ability to time his runs and play well enough off the ball to really create enough chances that don’t involve his aerial ability. Though Sturridge’s injury woes are always a concern, when he’s in the lineup, especially when Phillippe Coutinho returns, the two give Liverpool the best link-up combination on the squad.
- Simon Mignolet’s days as starting keeper are numbered. Though the Belgian’s play hasn’t exactly been dreadful, by any accounts, he seems to make his share of mental errors, (the 6 second violation that led to a goal against Bordeaux) all signs point to Klopp finding the kind of keeper that will better suit his liking.
- Suddenly, with the lads playing so well, Klopp has some tough roster decisions to make for some upcoming clashes. Joe Allen has certainly made his case for playing time after his performance against Southampton, but with a glut of players in top form right now, it’ll be a challenge for Klopp to find the right side when injuries and suspensions subside. Roberto Firmino has done well, on occasion, but he’s been wildly inconsistent, especially without Coutinho in the lineup, with Emre Can, Adam Lallana and Lucas all contributing of late and Jordan Henderson match fit once again, there are a lot of decisions to be made in the midfield. Considering that a healthy Sturridge should be in the lineup, at least until he’s spelled by Origi or Benteke. Throw in the fact that Jordan Ibe just oozes with potential to be the heir-apparent to the departed Raheem Sterling, there are some tough decisions looming for Klopp. Considering that the issues come from multiple players making a strong case for playing time, it is a good problem to have and should result in players fighting for time. With Premier League fixtures, cup clashes and Europa League all filling the schedule, there should be enough time to give all the aforementioned players enough time to begin to hash out what the most viable starting XI is.
- There’s no doubt that Klopp has made a difference and the best is still yet to come. The enigmatic German manager is winning with Brendan Rodgers’ players and in doing so has reinvigorated the club. As the team trains with Klopp, we’re beginning to see just how lethal “Geggenpressing” can be. Now, Liverpool have reinserted themselves back into the top-four discussion in the Premier League while simultaneously showing promise in Europe as well. With a favorable set of fixtures heading into the new year, including the Capital One two-leg showdown with Stoke, (let’s be honest, a Merseyside Derby semi or another run-in with Man City would be more difficult) now is the time for Liverpool to make their case as one of the better teams in England. Onward and upward.
- The black kit is absolutely fantastic. The more I see it, the more I think it’s one of the best third kits that the club has featured in a long time. It’s clean, it’s classy and the collar is a nice touch.
- Klopp’s comment about the loss to Crystal Palace is hilarious. He has such a fun personality. It makes the losses interesting and the victories even more enjoyable.
- Connor Randall was shaky at first but serviceable. He has potential. As for Brad Smith, he was strong once he came in for Moreno, including a nice assist and could see more time at a thin position.