It was perhaps an irony lost on many who watched champions elect Liverpool destroy pretenders Leicester City in a 4-0 Premier League demolition job at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day. Samba ace Bobby Firmino grabbed a couple of goals — on 31 minutes and 74 minutes — as coach Jurgen Klopp’s men maintained their lead at the top of the top-flight table in a manner that suggested they will be difficult to stop.
Manchester City will give everything they have in their armoury to catch the Kop kings but it may not be enough. Back to Firmino, the goal ace who struck to hand Liverpool the world club title with a 1-0 win over Brazilians Flamengo in Qatar last week. He was in dominating and defiant mood at the home of the Foxes and his ability and subsequent influence on proceedings wasn’t lost on home manager Brendan Rodgers. After all, he was the manager who signed the little magician for the Anfield giants. Hence the irony mentioned in the opening sentence!
But the thing about this amazing Liverpool side is that it simply isn’t all down to one player. One week we see Firmino dazzling while others around his merely chip in with odd moments of brilliance by way of being members of the supporting cast. Other periods of the campaign it will fall to the likes of Sadio Mane or Mo Salah to provide a magnificent contribution as well as the odd goal or too, of course.
Salah didn’t especially shine in this game but he was on the pitch giving the home side’s rear guard a headache none the less. You get the picture, here, right? It shows us that every single player within the Reds squad is of equal importance. In midfield against City, Jordan Henderson was pulling strings, supported ably by full backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. James Milner had to make do with a spot on the bench reserved for subs — yet when he was called on he replaced Hendo and his first touch was to tuck the ball away from the penalty spot on 71 minutes after impressive central defender Caglar Soyuncu had been adjudged to have handled in the box. Alexander-Arnold made it 4-0 on 78 minutes with a delicious shot that sealed the deal and Liverpool disappeared in to the sunset with the points.
Klopp said after the match that he was delighted with the result and all of the hard work that his players had to put in to achieve the win to maintain the team’s outstanding momentum. He added:
“I do not take it for granted and the boys have to do it every three days. We had big chances at the start of the game, did not score with them but stayed in the game and controlled it.
“It was difficult for Leicester to get into the game, both teams felt the intensity of the season but we controlled it more and maybe Leicester were not as aggressive. We scored a first goal, super, super, cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino can score from that situation.”
The Premier League title is surely on the way to Anfield for the first time. Champions League for a second year on the spin? Don’t rule it out!