Liverpool kicked off their 2014/15 EPL campaign with a win against a tough Southampton side yesterday to ensure a good start to the season. It’s true to say that all that glitters is not gold and this is apt for yesterday’s result. That said, the result was the main thing. There were a number of lessons learned from yesterday’s performance and I’ll summarize what I found out below.
1. Luis who? Since Luis Suarez’s much vaunted departure, there’s been no end of speculation as to how Liverpool would fair without him. Against Southampton, a more than capable opponent at the best of times, we learned that the team can rely on other members to produce the goods. Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson to name three all stepped up to the plate and delivered.
2. Lucas who? Despite the fact that Lucas has been a good servant to LFC, it does seem his best days for Liverpool at least are behind him. Lucas has been at the club for just over seven years now and perhaps it’s time for him to seek a new challenge. Perhaps the seven-year-itch exists in footy also. His statistic of zero tackles won sums things up. Personally I think it’s time his place was surrendered to Emre Can.
3. High Wide and Handsome. A reflection of Glen Johnson’s shooting ability. Yes in sure he’s better at it than I am as he’ll surely point out, but the I’m not paid the best part of £100k per week. Johnson had a couple of shots yesterday and from what I recall, both went way, way off target. In fairness to him, I felt he played better yesterday than he has done for a long while, even at right back and made he made a couple if good interventions too.
4. If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Step forward Javier Manquillo Gaitán. I have to say, Brendan Rodgers surprised us all with this lad. At just 20, young Manquillo is playing well above his years and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve been taken completely by surprise. The LFC Transfer Committee have unearthed a real gem here. This lad has the makings of being a great player for Liverpool.
5. Who dares wins. The new, or shall I say real SAS. Equally as lethal and deadly as the regiment. Sturridge and Sterling have continued this season where they left off last time. The latter seems to be improving with every game and it’s hard to believe this is the same lad Rodgers was telling off for being cheeky during the preseason tour a couple of years ago. Sterling barely put a foot wrong all game yesterday. The fact that he played in two positions seamlessly yesterday shows what a player Liverpool has in this young lad.
Those are the main things that stood out for me in yesterday’s performance. Also worth noting is that Philippe Coutinho had a pretty poor game. Now opposition teams are aware that if he’s shackled he’s going to struggle and perhaps this is the reason why Lazar Markovic has been recruited. Perhaps Coutinho just had a bad day at the office.
All said the result bode well. It looks on paper as if the squad is stronger than last season, but we’ll only know that once Markovic and Adam Lallana come back from injury. One thing is clear though and that’s that the squad is arguably stronger without Suarez.
Next up is Manchester City away and this will be a big test for the team. If things go against them it’s not the end of the world but I don’t believe Rodgers’ men have anything to fear. It’s still early doors and both teams are not 100% yet. This could even play in the visitors’ favor. I maintain that the top three is a fair expectation. Having said that, what I want is the title.
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