Liverpool: Add Quality To Winning Mentality & We Can Start To Dream...
Here's an interesting new dilemma then.
How are we supposed to feel about Liverpool's 1-0 win at Aston Villa? Elated? Frustrated? You want me to resort to footballing cliche? Okay then I will. You know what's coming anyway.
It was a game of two halves.
The first half saw Liverpool utterly dominant; electrifyingly fluid movement, passion, speed, intensity, a game plan that saw retention of the ball become paramount to the point that after 20 minutes we had marked up 70% possession. Playing excellent football with one caveat; this may well have been the sterile domination that. Had heard so much about. For all the impressive control that we had we managed only one effort on goal.
Luckily that effort was the piece of individual brilliance from Daniel Sturridge that won the match; tricky footwork in the box leading him to the right of the goal, a flick with the outside of his left boot ending in the roof if the net.
The worry is that we still need to convert our pressure into fear cut chances and take those chances ruthlessly or suffer the possibility of allowing seemingly outclassed opponents back into the game. Here Aston Villa, who had spent the first half chasing ghosts around their own pitch raised their game to the level that had embarrassed Arsenal and come close to upsetting Chelsea and threw everything they had a us.
Coutinho's supply lines were closed off, forcing him into a rare ineffectual performance and the team as a whole into a desperate rear guard action.
Simon Mignolet continued his efforts to repay his entire transfer fee before the clocks go back by producing two more saves of distinction, one in either half, while Kolo Toure took another step nearer convincing the red half of Liverpool that he is the greatest human being in the planet by winning his personal duel with Christian Benteke with some conviction.
I have spent the last week arguing that our squad now contains game changers on the bench but had meant that in terms of the attacking alternatives that we were able to offer. Here we were more reliant on the defensive options that we could provide; Joe Allen to stiffen the midfield and the debutant Aly Cissokho to assist Enrique in strengthening the left of the field, our first half flair giving way to a gritty resolve to maintain the lead in the face of another impressive Villa performance.
There is the possibility that Liverpool may well have found the determination and winning mentality that they have missed for so long. That we are discovering the ability to win when (in one half at least) not playing well.
Obviously it's early days, anybody getting over excited would be stupid. It would be senseless to be carried away that Liverpool are currently second in the Premiership on goal difference that last year may have seen October looming before we recorded a victory whereas we have now won our two opening games for the first time in five years so I'm not going to.
If we are able to continue this winning mentality, add the quality that Rodgers continues to pursue and start to ensure that our dominance turns to goals.....
Then maybe we can finally start getting carried away.