The loss of star men and a subsequent dip in form following the turn of the year fuelled fears that recent injuries could seriously hamper Liverpool’s final push for that all important top four spot.
Six points from two potentially troublesome away fixtures and suddenly there is a feeling that Champions League qualification is well within this team’s capabilities once again. That said, Reds of all people know how quickly things can change at this late stage in the season.
An intelligent and organised display on the road against West Brom followed up a comeback win against Stoke the week before in giving fans good reason to be positive, especially with the added bonus of some telling statistics.
- Liverpool will finish the 2016/17 season as the only team unbeaten against the Premier League’s current top 8 clubs
An impressive record but one that hints at what could have been for a side that looked so dominant during the early months of the campaign. There has been an irony to the manner in which Jurgen Klopp’s men have thrived against the league’s top teams and, primarily during the opening weeks of 2017, struggled against the bottom half of the table. It poses as a record that also recognises what greater strength in depth will make us capable of next season.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in the 14 Premier League games in which Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have started together
Fans have been desperate to see Klopp’s two first choice centre-backs start together for a run of games yet neither man has been able to keep himself fit long enough to do so. Recent performances have showcased how much stronger we look at the back with both Lovren and Matip in the team and have, once again, teased supporters and most likely Klopp himself into wondering what might have been. A centre-back pairing that play together consistently is key if we are to have any chance of mounting a serious title challenge moving forward.
- Lucas now has more Premier League assists (2) than Aaron Ramsey, Willian, Marcus Rashford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan this season
Any excuse to praise Lucas Leiva. Assisting goals is by no means his purpose but if he doesn’t make that flick from the free-kick against West Brom then Roberto Firmino doesn’t score what turned out to be the winning goal. His attacking expertise aside, the Brazilian was outstanding at the Hawthorns on Sunday and once again showcased the aggression, leadership and energy that has led many fans to express the importance of keeping him at the club this summer. His future still remains unclear yet we suspect there is now little chance of Klopp letting such an experienced figure leave.
- Liverpool have won all 8 away Premier League games that Roberto Firmino has scored in
What a season Roberto Firmino is turning out to be having. The Brazilian forward looks back to his best and finds himself on a bit of a scoring run having netted a match-winning goal in each of Liverpool’s previous two league fixtures. He has finally started to add goals to the illusive movement, unselfishness and technical brilliance on the ball that had already seen him become an Anfield favourite.
- Simon Mignolet made 4 punches against West brom- for the second time in a Premier League game for Liverpool and for the first time since Boxing Day 2014
Liverpool’s Belgian shot-stopper has been in inspired form over the past few weeks, coming up with decisive saves and forcing Reds and potentially also his manager to reassess initial doubts over whether he can take this club forward. He has started to look like the commanding and assured number one this team needs, visibly improving on his ability to deal with crosses into the penalty area. A rise to form that must continue for the remainder of the season.