It was a tense first half, especially after Arsenal went 1-0 against Everton. All those dreams of Champions League next season momentarily shattered! Step forward Georginio Wijnaldum, who in the 46th minute changed it all, scoring the opener and his sixth goal of his debut season for Liverpool.
Liverpool went on to win the game 3-0 and secured their Champions League return. With top-four rivals Arsenal ahead at Everton, Liverpool were impotent in attack and twitchy at the back for most of the first half.
But Georginio Wijnaldum eased the tension in injury time, bursting into the box and smashing in a fierce shot at the near post.
Philippe Coutinho’s low curling free-kick six minutes into the second half was quickly followed by Adam Lallana scoring the 3rd after an incredibly swift counter-attack in which it was 5v3. This gave Liverpool the much needed comfort blanket.
The interplay between Roberto Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana in the second half was close to the scintillating best that they have produced in this campaign.
Manchester City thrashed Watford 5-0 which meant Liverpool finished fourth in the final Premier League table. Champions League qualifying it will have to be! But least we got over the final hurdle!
Jurgen Klopp had a beaming smile on his face at the final whistle and rightly so. He had returned Liverpool back to where they belong amongst Europe’s Elite.
As ever the showman, congratulating both sets of players on the pitch, banging the Liver bird on his chest with pride. John W Henry watching down from the magnificent new main stand would have been delighted, justifying his decision to pursue the endearing German coach.
I really hope John W Henry understands that this is just Phase 1 complete, the perfect opportunity to build upon. Last time we were at stage we didn’t, in fact we went backwards after the sale of Suarez! Investment is needed and the opportunity of Champions League football will provide Liverpool no excuses should they not sign the top players someone of Klopp’s calibre demands.
Liverpool need additions to recreate that form more consistently and on bigger stages next season. Whilst Liverpool achieved an impressive 76 points, however only just finished above Arsenal and Manchester United.
In order to compete next season on multiple fronts something needs to change. Too often this season Liverpool’s attackers were devoid of ideas when facing deep-lying opposition. Too many times the combination of Can, Lucas and Wijnaldum failed to inspire, it was only when Coutinho came deep, often being forced to, that a creative spark was ignited.
Klopp says players names have been drawn up between him and Edwards. Let’s hope they start negotiating quickly and get as many first choice as possible.