Liverpool displayed a different kind of performance on Saturday against what can only be described as a double-decker Sunderland defence. While it wasn’t the most eye-catching display from the Reds, the grit and perseverance on display was aplenty as they marched to a 2-0 win.
A Clear Sign of Progression
Throughout Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at Liverpool, frustration proved to get the better of Liverpool. Throwing away leads and failing to make chances count was all too often a feature of their league campaign despite dominating the lion’s share of possession. Chances went begging, heads dropped and a solemn acceptance of a point arose.
“Sunderland always play a defensive style It is difficult to come through but we stayed concentrated, worked for the moment and found a way.” – Jurgen Klopp
There was no such acceptance on Saturday, with a strong display of patience marking a clear sign of progression. Nathaniel Clyne and Milner had chances rebuffed while Roberto Firmino and Gini Wijnaldum forced decent saves from Jamie Pickford, who did well to keep Liverpool out as long as he did. However, Liverpool’s heads didn’t drop and they continued to mount pressure on the young keeper, who eventually couldn’t keep them out any longer.
With their domination and pressure paying off, you can’t help but wonder just how crucial the result could prove to be for Liverpool come the end of the season. A draw at home against Sunderland would have been a big setback but at 2-0 the confidence remains high on Merseyside.
A Chance Well Taken
Having found his opportunities severely limited this season thanks to the rampant form of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, Divock Origi has found it hard to reach the heights of last season.
Yet, handed the chance due to Coutinho’s early injury, Origi made his mark on proceedings. Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, the 22 year old riggled away from Duncan Watmore before cutting back and curling his shot into the far corner. Relief for the Reds.
Rallying The Troops
You couldn’t blame the Liverpool supporters for being rather subdued after seeing Philippe Coutinho stretched off before the half time whistle. It seemed to be heading for one of those days but Jurgen Klopp’s role as conductor played a key role in the change in fortunes.
The German was the orchestrator, rallying the Anfield faithful to get behind the side and mount further pressure on David Moyes’ side. Noise levels rising and pressure rising, Liverpool turned the screw and got their just reward.
The free-flowing football usually displayed by Liverpool may make for a better watch, but points are the only thing that matters. If you want to compete at the top end of the Premier League, you need to be able to grind out results against teams who pack their defence and hope for the draw. Liverpool did just that.