Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp possesses enough wisdom to not let a mediocre display and a draw worry him. The 0-0 stalemate at Merseyside rivals Everton was indeed frustrating as the Reds got their Premier League title tilt back on track in their first game since the Covid-19 pandemic suspension of football.
But the bigger picture, the long game if you will, is all about just who laughs last and there can be little doubt whatsoever that the Anfield giants will enjoy the last laugh. Make that a hearty chortle. For although a draw and a stuttering display against the Toffees was not ideal for Klopp’s troops, it does give them another point to add to the tally needed to claim their first top-flight prize since 1990.
Thirty years of hurt will soon be over, make no mistake. The fact that Manchester City, in second spot in the table, walloped Burnley 5-0 in their second comeback match means the Reds can’t now win the crown at Anfield on Wednesday night when they host Crystal Palace. Liverpool now need five points to seal the deal and with key players set to return, it is only a formality for the domestic game’s biggest pot to be lifted aloft by Reds skipper Jordan Henderson sometime soon.
Yes, the disjointed performance against a stubborn Everton side wasn’t ideal. But it was the first time back for the players and it couldn’t have helped to endure the unusual experience of playing at an empty Goodison Park because of the restrictions on fans attending games as we try to return to a new normal.
Missing any game time was deadly striker Mo Salah and flying full-back Andy Roberson and both are said to have missed out because of slight knocks — understandable reluctance from Klopp to risk such important players given that he has such an abundance of talent within his title-chasing squad of players. But the news coming out of Anfield is that both players will probably be first to feature at some point, more than likely from the bench, although there will be two absentees for the Reds.
Both James Milner and Joel Matip suffered injuries in the draw against Everton and will be missing for the visit of the Eagles. Klopp said in a pre-game press conference on Tuesday:
“Mo trained completely normal, he will train completely normal I would guess and then he is available. What I make with the line-up, you have to wait to see. It is the same with Robbo — he trained completely normal as well, so it’s the same. Millie and Joel will not be available. We have to figure out exactly how long it will take, but they will not play against Palace.”