Crucial wins from lacklustre performances away from home have emerged as a bit of a theme to Liverpool’s finish to the season.
Similarities can be drawn between last night’s 1-0 win over Watford and recent hard-fought victories away to West Brom and Stoke during the past month. Liverpool far from their best, a decisive moment in front of goal, a gritty display and a frantic finish to the game.
All that mattered yesterday were the three points at stake. Emre Can’s wonder-strike aside, Liverpool were by no means the emphatic attacking force Reds know they can be. It was slow and ponderous at times but it was focused and intelligent.
Liverpool’s slightly reserved approach ruled out any opportunity for Watford to counter and start building momentum, making Can’s perfect execution a welcomed moment of inspiration.
It proved to be a game that became subject to a number of interesting Liverpool statistics, that we can now enjoy after seeing Sebastian Prödl’s injury time effort rock the crossbar.
- Liverpool are the top scorers in first-half stoppage time in the PL this season (4)
A slightly bizarre statistic until realising which games each of the four first-half stoppage time goals came in. The first came courtesy of Philippe Coutinho’s stunning free-kick in the 4-3 win over Arsenal at the Emirates on the opening day of the season. Georginio Wijnaldum provided the second when he levelled things up in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Burnley in March. The third came from Roberto Firmino in the recent 1-0 win away to West Brom before Can’s overhead kick made it four in Monday’s clash at Vicarage Road. All vitals wins.
- Can’s goal was Liverpool’s 71st in the PL this season- a tally third behind their 77 in 2008/2009 and 101 in 2013/2014
The 2008/2009 and 2013/2014 can bring back special or frankly demoralising memories. Depends what Reds choose to focus on. They were two of the most successful campaigns this club has enjoyed in recent years which is why our similarly high goal tally this season is something to be celebrated. A tally of 71 promises to increase as Liverpool look to consolidate that top four spot by doing what they do best and scoring goals.
- Lucas Leiva has made 3 assists in last 5 PL games- the same amount as he had made in previous 163 league appearances
A quite incredible statistic. Can admittedly did a lot of the hard work but the German doesn’t score against Watford without Lucas spotting his run from midfield and feeding him a ball of the exact height and pace that he did. The Brazilian has been superb over recent weeks and has once again demonstrated how valuable his experience and leadership can be.
- James Milner made his 450th PL appearance in the win against Watford
Monday’s win saw Milner become the 22nd player in Premier League history to make 450 appearances. He has been one of the most reliable, loyal and committed players this club has signed in recent memory, and Liverpool didn’t have to pay a penny for him. At only 31-years-old, there is plenty more to come from him as well.
- Liverpool made it 3 PL away wins in a row under Klopp for only the second time
It may not happen often, but it is a streak that has certainly come at the right time. Liverpool fans would have bitten the hands off of anyone that had offered them wins away to Stoke, West Brom and Watford two months ago. Each game has showcased something few believed Liverpool were capable of in terms of grinding out a win and getting the result they need without playing the exciting attacking football this team is known for. It is up to the players now to extend that record when they travel to face West Ham in two weeks.