Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Premier League (33), Anfield
July 5, 2020
Buts: Mane 71 ′, Jones 89 ′
Before the lockdown, the discussion around the potential player of the year was very much about Jordan Henderson, who was considered the player of the year player favorite.
But for the better Player, Liverpool supporters would have largely elected Sadio Mane as their player of the year.
The number 10 Reds was the one who sought to give the impetus in an extremely flat first half, often playing the role of left striker and central striker given the lack of quality of Divock Origi.
And it was Mane who provided the decisive goal, finishing ahead of Pepe Reina to win his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.
Many have contributed to Liverpool’s success this season, but perhaps not more than Mane – the player who helped and scored in the absolutely vital late win at Villa in November.
What does Divock do?
The only eye-catching part of the Divock Origi show was her new hairstyle.
Maybe Jurgen Klopp hoped the Belgian would catch the eye of any potential contender, playing Origi in front of Takumi Minamino in place of Roberto Firmino.
But in 63 minutes on the field, Origi offered very, very little. No clichés, no dribbs, absolutely nothing noticeable. If it was a chance to claim to stay at Anfield this summer, it failed. If it was a chance to get the attention of a manager who was watching, it failed miserably.
One day when Rhian Brewster scored again for Swansea City, Origi’s time at Anfield seems to be even closer. We all know why Klopp wanted Timo Werner this summer, and this screening underscored it again.
A quality depth of attack beyond the first three is absolutely essential this summer. A cult hero due to his heroism in the Champions League last season, but far from the required quality.
Creativity in the midfield
Speaking of signings, the name of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago has been on the lips of supporters for the past 48 hours and this match has shown why his creativity could be something that Klopp would like to add to his team.
It was an opportunity for Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the latter in particular struggled to make an impact. Oxlade tried balls cut over them, which Thiago is known for, but they failed to come off.
Keita did more and it was her great pass that provided help for Mane’s first game.
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One of the benefits of the temporary five submarine rule is the ability to create three submarines in one projection, knowing that you can always make other changes in the event of an injury.
That’s exactly what Klopp did on time, replacing the ineffective trio of Origi, Oxlade and Fabinho with Henderson, Wijaldum and Firmino.
That means the game can be changed from the bench quite effectively and it was nice to see it pay dividends here.
That triple penny was then followed by Curtis Jones’ late cameo and the league’s first goal at the last minute.
Rotation to come
It was a surprise to see Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson start and with two more games this week, it is likely that each will be shot in one of these matches in Brighton and at home in Burnley.
Neco Williams was on the bench again, so perhaps Brighton on Wednesday will be ideal for his first league start, while James Milner should be back in top form to allow Robertson to rest in one of these matches .
Jones had a good submarine the day after signing a new long-term contract, now requiring two more appearances to qualify for a Premier League winner medal. We could see the Scouser start its first championship in the coming weeks.
Klopp has only made three changes for this starting lineup and we should probably expect more in the next two games.
Four wins in the last five games are required to beat the Premier League record total.