Liverpool 2-0 Burnley: The Reds Go Marching On
Sometimes all you need in life is a relatively comfortable, mostly routine 2-0 win. A goal in either half and near total domination. That’s what we got last night.
Not easy. Nobody said easy. There’s no way that Burnley are giving anybody an easy ride; they’d been to Chelsea, been to City, drawn at both. We knew what they’d be like; they’d hunt, they’d harry, they’d never stop moving. That, too, is what we got tonight; A Burnley side that are facing the threat of a return to the Championship by putting in one hell of a shift and never stopping moving.
Luckily, we also know how to put in one hell of a shift, we also never stop moving. And to this work-rate, this effort, this application, this movement, we add the fact that we’re pretty damn decent at football. We’re going to play football everywhere. If there’s an area of the pitch where we encounter a problem then we’re going to solve that problem by playing our way out of it with a purity of touch and a surety of vision.
We’re confident now. We have the confidence born of being THE form team in the country, the kind of confidence that breeds more confidence, that lets you try the outrageous just to find out whether it will work or not. It’s the kind of confidence that allows you to nearly score the goal of the season after 30 seconds; a flowing succession of flicks and spins and back heels that sees Sturridge denied only by the Burnley keeper’s outstretched hand. It would have been nice for Sturridge to get a goal of the season contender; just to stop Philippe Coutinho from getting them all.
Coutinho didn’t score a wonder goal tonight. Not that he didn’t try. He tried the outrageous, the ridiculous, the curling for the top corner. So did Sturridge, so did Lallana. And when our midfielders weren’t trying to score the goal of the season they were doing their damnedest to set up Sturridge for something/anything that will help click him into form. Sharper tonight but still possibly trying too hard to be the saviour we needed six weeks ago. His goal, when it inevitably came, was calm and considered; a delicate header from a lovely Jordan Henderson ball. One of many, many lovely Jordan Henderson passes. There are more and more these days. The lad’s growing into the armband, the team’s growing into the future; to the point that it’s hard to see where Gerrard fits in on his return. The bench seems the most obvious destination. It’s a lovely quandary to have.
Gerrard’s biggest problem on this forthcoming return is our midfield. Our midfield is currently immaculate. Joe Allen decided that just repeating his glory of three days ago would probably be a good move, Lallana put in the same energy levels as against City but added feints and turns and, again, should have picked up a couple of goals for his efforts while Henderson made one, scored one and should have had at least one more. Henderson went for the ‘if in doubt’ blast it into the bottom corner angle. It worked. Ahead of theses three Coutinho did what Coutinho has spent the last few weeks doing. As did Sterling. Behind them, Lovren continued to grow, Skrtel was imperious and Emre Can was more Emre Can than ever.
We are currently a beautiful side to watch. The neutrals are beginning to whisper; possibly we’re better than last season. You may think that, we couldn’t possibly comment but we’re having fun again. We’re starting to have the same kind of fun that we had last season. Remember when people said that we couldn’t just keep winning and we did? Yeah, we’re doing that again aren’t we?
There’s a poor United side ahead of us (with a very poor but seemingly exceptionally lucky manager), a poor United side that’s spent about a gazillion pounds and is - quite amusingly - worse than it was under Moyes. There’s an Arsenal side ahead of us that’s always filled with the capacity to drag defeat from the jaws of victory. Meanwhile we’re playing all this football and we keep on winning. Sometimes it’s a thrilling defeat of the current champions, sometimes it’s making a hard game against a hard fighting team seem routine but we keep on winning.
Third and the FA Cup. Are you betting against us?
Actually. Do you know what? Quite fancy second.