Liverpool beat Sunderland, but lose Coutinho
Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League with a win against Sunderland but could face a run of games without Philippe Coutinho who was taken off on a stretcher at Anfield.
Daniel Sturridge’s calf injury meant he missed the game at Anfield. It also meant that Klopp played the same team for 41 games!
- Liverpool are now 14 games unbeaten in all competitions.
- Failure to turn 80% possession into clear chances.
- Had 27 shots and went close several times before Origi struck.
- Coutinho carried off in the 34th minute – could have lengthy time out.
- Liverpool up the intensity after the interval, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino and Emre Can all going close.
- Origi finally breaks the deadlock with a low shot 15 minutes from time.
- Milner added a second with a late penalty.
- Ben Woodburn made his first competitive senior Liverpool appearance.
The first half
Liverpool began the game on the front foot and Firmino had their first attempt on goal in the sixth minute, when his low left-footed effort from 20 yards was gathered by Jordan Pickford. Against David Moyes’ side Coutinho seemed to be man-marked early on.
Wijnaldum was next to test Pickford as he swivelled and shot after collecting Coutinho’s pass just inside the area, before Loris Karius was called upon to deny Steven Pienaar from close range at the other end.
Klopp had a shuffle of the frontline as Origi came on to replace Coutinho, who was carried off after a collision with Ndong in the 34th minute.
The frustration grew as Liverpool continued to press with Dejan Lovren first heading Jordan Henderson’s free-kick wide and then powering a long-range attempt wide. Sadly 30yrd attempts is all we could muster.
Worries of a repeat result of the Southampton game grew. Henderson spoke during the week about defeating teams who simply ‘parked the bus’ – so far no improvements.
The second half
Liverpool upped the tempo as they began the 2nd half attacking the Kop, you could sense that Klopp had placed a rocked up each and every one of them!! Wijnaldum volleyed Can’s lofted pass wide as Liverpool continued to push forward for a goal. Firmino came close after some excellent close control in the penalty area, but Sunderland’s double decker bus just parked up and frustrated Liverpool – the fans and also Klopp.
Jürgen Klopp is not a man to mess with. He has shown that on more than one occasion. He clearly expects Anfield being an intimidating place to visit. Who wouldn’t when you get a return of 16 points from a possible 18 available at Anfield this season so far!! The Anfield crowd are the 12th man – he naturally expects and demanded more from the supporters as he angerly waved to the Kop.
This clearly worked as the noise levels increased as Can shot just wide. The Anfield faithful continued to cheer as Mane would have scored had it not been for Jason Denayer (again).
Liverpool finally got the goal their dominance merited shortly after when Origi cut inside from the left and curled a low effort into Pickford’s far corner. Scoring his 1st goal of the season.
Liverpool’s positivity was undeniable, with full-backs Milner and Nathaniel Clyne playing high up the pitch. Emre Can continually joining attacks and even centre-back Joel Matip spending long spells in midfield.
Can had yet another shot deflected wide before Ndong hacked down Mane in the box, allowing Milner to send Pickford the wrong way from 12 yards.
Back to top spot
The win means Liverpool reclaim top spot in the table from Manchester City. With Chelsea playing Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s late kick-off we can celebrate the success for 2 hours!
Origi’s instant impact on the game highlights Liverpool have the resources to deal with any spell out for Coutinho. Mane will be with Senegal at the African Cup of Nations in January, so Klopp will desperately hope he has not lost arguably his most creative force for long.
With no European football to distract them, Liverpool look well placed to make a push for the title. Klopp called for more from players and fans against Sunderland. He got it, but can all parties keep delivering?
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