Liverpool sure do love their 3-1 scorelines this year. It’s the fourth time they’ve got such a result following on from wins against Bournemouth, Wolves and LASK.
The Merseysiders changed the record slightly this time around by throwing out a Mo Salah opener, albeit very much against the run of play in the opening stages of the clash with West Ham.
Even with momentum shifting the hosts’ way, Jarrod Bowen’s superb late diving header to level proceedings felt a fair reflection of what had gone on in the first-half of action at Anfield.
With five wins already under our belt, you could forgive our continental contingent of supporters for rushing to place a bet at European bookies ahead of our upcoming fixtures.
Even with challenging matches on the horizon – including away trips to Tottenham and Brighton either side of a Europa League meeting with Union Saint-Gilloise – you’d be hard-pressed to find any fan feeling nervous about the Merseysiders’ chances.
But onto the West Ham review…
Fix that first-half performance and you’re going big this year
Jurgen Klopp won’t be checking back too far over his shoulder when analysing Liverpool’s strong start to the 2023/24 campaign, though some online supporters have already begun ruing a draw with Chelsea in our league opener with the table looking incredibly tight.
The relentless machine that is Manchester City stand at the top of the hill with maximum points squeezed from their first six league games, with Brighton and Tottenham taking up third and fourth just beyond the Reds in second.
Whilst it would be ludicrously unfair to be overly critical of this Liverpool 2.0, especially whilst still in its relative infancy, one can’t help but wonder what it could achieve even as early as the current campaign if our subdued starts to first halves could be fixed.
Do Liverpool even need a No.6?
It seems a daft question when you look over at the Etihad with Rodri and the Emirates with Declan Rice.
Star holding midfielders are considered gold dust – just look at the impact Fabinho made at Anfield after settling in following a transfer from Monaco.
Alexis Mac Allister has already drawn some criticism for his performances (perhaps a little unwarranted, as he isn’t a specialist by any stretch of the understanding.
However, his latest outing in the position against West Ham showed a level of class that perhaps demonstrates why there isn’t a pressing need for a like-for-like Fabinho replacement.
With a box formation allowing us an extra man in midfield (Joe Gomez was exceptional there, by the way) and the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai reinforcing our control in the middle of the park with his dynamic, pressing masterclasses, it’s not just up to one man to shield the backline.
With that in mind: have Liverpool moved on from the need for a specialist No.6?
The shirt is Darwin Nunez’s to lose
The problem with Darwin Nunez has never been his goal threat but, rather, how he influences the game defensively.
It was telling, then, that Jurgen Klopp specifically addressed this matter in his post-match comments, noting, as reported by the Daily Mail: “The defensive work he puts in is probably the main difference. He always wanted (to do it) but it was less co-ordinated. Now that looks much better.”
If our No.11 can continue to contribute beyond goals and assists in that manner, it’s difficult to see anything but an injury or cup competitions bringing the likes of Cody Gakpo or Diogo Jota back into the starting-XI.