sábado, 22 de outubro de 2016

Liverpool 2-1 West Brom: Mane and Coutinho on target in hard-fought win - 5 things we learned

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The Reds' set-piece weaknesses were exposed as they failed to go top but the win was a big one for Jurgen Klopp's men at Anfield


Liverpool were denied top spot in the Premier League by a late West Brom goal that again exposed their set piece weakness.
The Reds had produced a stunning display of creative, attacking football to sweep aside the visitors, and give them the two goal cushion that put them above Arsenal.
But after missing a host of chances to improve their goal difference further, the home team were punished when Gareth McAuley sparked a fight back after ramming home from a corner.

It left Liverpool clinging on at the end when they should have won so comfortably, after being inspired by the brilliance of Philippe Coutinho , who scored one goal, created another and had a hand in everything his team did.

REUTERSLiverpool's Philippe Coutinho celebrates scoring their second goal with Sadio Mane
Coutinho and Mane celebrate
Jan Kruger
McAuley gives West Brom hope

Coutinho produced a stunning moment midway through the first half when his dummy set up Sadio Mane to fire home a technically brilliant volley from Roberto Firmino's cross.
And when the little Brazilian dummied two visiting defenders – who had to pay to get back in – before firing home at the near post, he showed Jurgen Klopp's side mean business in this season's title race.

1. Liverpool nice on the eye


PALiverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's first goal
Mane celebrates his goal

They are still a work in progress, but Liverpool do possess a stunning quality at times.
The opening goal on 21 minutes showed that exquisitely. From Milner's initial pass, through Coutinho's brilliant, space-creating dummy, Can's poise and Firmino's radar guided cross – not to mention the audacious volleyed finish from Mane – it wasn't just a goal, but poetry in motion.
When they get it right, they are unstoppable.

2. More critics for Pulis


REUTERSWest Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis
Pulis on the touchline

Tony Pulis receives so much criticism, but so much of it is misguided.
Ok, things didn't go to plan here at Anfield, but he deserves respect for the fact that it is no surprise when his teams come to places like this and get results.
Of course it's not pretty. You can't stifle opponents by playing free flowing football.
But when Liverpool are in this mood, there is no shame in trying first to stop them.
It's time critics got their heads around that fact.

3. Coutinho is a genius


RexLiverpool's Philippe Coutinho scores their second goal
Coutinho scores Liverpool's second goal

He was desperately disappointing against United on Monday, rushing his passing to the point of hysteria, but he was only SO disappointing because you know he can do stuff like he tortured West Brom with.
His dummy to create the first goal defined the game, a moment of pure class that turned a tight contest on its head.
And his turn inside and stunning near post finish showed a player who is maturing.
He's at an age now where he could take the next step towards world class level.

4. Reds see off tricky opponents


REUTERSLiverpool manager Juergen Klopp celebrates after Sadio Mane scores their first goal
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates

It is that game-changing quality of the likes of Coutinho and Firmino that suggests Liverpool are beginning to work out how to overcome the challenge set by sides like West Brom.
The key is patience, and an ability to work openings where their creative players can overload, and that happened consistently during this match.
If they maintain such intensity, they can be a title threat.
But they do need to work harder to kill off teams, and be stronger at set pieces when defending.

5. Spare a thought for Sturridge


Jan Kruger
Sturridge warms up

He was praised by his manager this week as possessing a talent that is “f****** incredible”, and was then promptly dropped.
Worse for the England man, is that Liverpool looked more fluid and mobile without him, the energy and vision of Firmino in the central role pivotal to the way Jurgen Klopp's team plays.
He is too good to be ignored for too long though, and there will be times this season when he can be vital to the Reds.

REUTERSLiverpool's Emre Can
Liverpool's Emre Can in action

Liverpool

Karius 7 - Had so little to do, but distribution was very impressive
Clyne 7 - Worked really hard down the flank to press and harrass
Matip 7 - Really starting to settle now and can be commanding in air
Lovren 7 - Some strong early defending set an important tone for team
Milner 8 - Is there currently a better full back in the Premier League?
Henderson 8 - Work he does is vital, but sometimes unnoticed. Real leader
Can 7 - Much improved on last display, height and power important
Lallana 8 - Makes a huge difference with his energy, but also his vision
Mane 8 - A quite stunning goal of outstanding technique, developing well
Firmino 8 - Movement and energy a key factor in win and way team operates
Coutinho 9 MOTM - Changed the game with two sublime moments of genius
Subs - Wijnaldum 6 (Lallana 79), Lucas 6 (Coutinho 88), Origi (Mane 90)

PALiverpool's Adam Lallana and West Bromwich Albion's Claudio Yacob compete
Lallana and Yacob battle for the ball

West Brom

Foster 7 - Made hash of kick that led to second goal, but some great saves
Dawson 6 - Dragged out of position for first goal, but stuck to task well
McAuley 6 - Hard to mark a ghost like Firmino but was disciplined in tough task
Olsson 6 - Not his best game, but then it's not often he'll come up against this
Nyom 6 - Looked awkward and out of place under pressure from Coutinho
Fletcher 7 - Can't be faulted for his leadership or organisation, but tough job
Yacob 5 - Booked. Chasing shadows through first half and no surprise when hooked
Phillips 5 - Seemed to spend most of the game running back towards his goal
Chadli 6 - Hardly had any chance to show the form which has won plaudits
McClean 6 - Didn't do much wrong, but no supply to show he can do much right
Rondon 5 - Very quiet, but the was feeding on scraps and battling two markers
Subs - Brunt 6 (Yacob 46), Robson-Kanu 6 (McClean 65)

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