BBC pundit Garth Crooks has named his Team of the Week again, and as always, it’s caused a lot of discussion!
Six of the players are made up from Liverpool and Manchester City players, with Jurgen Klopp’s men beating Chelsea away from home and Pep Guardiola’s City demolishing Bournemouth.
Of the Liverpool stars who helped us pick up a key away victory at Stamford Bridge, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana got the nod.
Matip was a composed, towering presence at the heart of our defence, and Crooks nails it in his description of the Cameroonian summer signing’s performance, in fairness:
“Matip wasn’t the least bit concerned about the threat from Diego Costa. In fact, in the first half it was Matip who – consistently and quite deliberately – gently nudged Costa in the back, causing the striker to miscontrol the ball.
“It’s a trick clever defenders employ in order to stop the striker from setting the play, and it often goes undetected by the referee as it appears as though the striker’s control is poor. Why such dark arts should thrill me on this occasion I’m not entirely sure. I suppose anything done well should be applauded.”
Henderson scored a Goal of the Month contender, but impressed enormously in the manner in which he ran midfield and led the team. That’s now three of four top level performances from our skipper on the bounce.
“Henderson was quite superb throughout this encounter and so were Liverpool,” Crooks wrote. No arguments there from us.
But in praising Adam Lallana, Crooks made a strange point about Coutinho…
“At the risk of finding another ‘hair in the soup’, my only concern would be that in an effort to create the team ethic you don’t lose the magic of Philippe Coutinho,” he said. “If you keep substituting the Brazilian you’ll destroy him. Lallana is developing into an impressive player but he is no Coutinho.”
Now hold on, Garth! Liverpool substituted Coutinho to bring on Lucas late on in an attempt to shore up the midfield and hold onto our lead. It wasn’t a switch which shows the Brazilian is in any way down the pecking order.
What’s more: Coutinho and Lallana don’t play in the same position this season. Lallana plays in the midfield three and Coutinho is given a freer role advanced on the left. There’s no way the Englishman’s improvement suggests Coutinho will become unimportant – that doesn’t make any sense.
So well done to Crooks for including three of our stars, but do your research!