Did Maribor Remind You Of Anyone?

After the all too easy 7-0 away victory against Maribor a couple of weeks ago, the return leg was considered to be a formality. That is an easy mistake to make. We all thought the 2nd leg against Stromsgodset in the 1974/75 Cup Winners Cup would also be a walkover. In actual fact we struggled in the 2nd leg to a 1-0 victory. That’s not a complaint by the way. Just stating it as it was. Fans were expecting another avalanche of goals but that didn’t materialise. A bit like last night really. In the end though we did enjoy a comfortable win in the end. But, apart from also playing in all white, did Maribor remind you of anyone? Another team who recently visited Anfield maybe?

Did Maribor Remind You Of Anyone?

As mentioned, apart from playing in all white, did Maribor remind you of anyone? Another negative, everyone back behind the ball, unambitious team fearful of a visit to Anfield? I can’t quite think who they remind me of though at the moment. Can you?

By stating we had most possession (75%), most shots (23 to 5) and most corners (17 to 2), is taken as read nowadays. It is almost worth copying and pasting for each game.

To say the first half was boring is a massive understatement. So, reminiscent of Huddersfield last Saturday and that other team in all white a few weeks back. Patience was key. Credit to the crowd as well, we all showed the required patience instead of displaying any discontent. Although, it may well be the fans were all asleep such was the high levels of boredom. The whole of the first half was almost a training session. Attack versus defence for 45 minutes.

I suggested at the half time whistle that we bring Sturridge on from the off in the second half. Who should he replace though? Karius was my suggestion. No disrespect to Lorius, but such was the inactivity in the Liverpool half, he may as well have been sat in the Kop.

Easy Win In The End

Just like last Saturday against Huddersfield, Liverpool scored early in the second half. Patience paid in the end. A great ball in from Alexander-Arnold (a promising talent no doubt, but I do prefer Gomez at right back) and a deft little flick from Mohamed Saleh. What a signing he has turned out to be. That was goal number ten for the season for Saleh. It does make you wonder why we wouldn’t pay the extra £4m a few years ago when we only offered Basle £8m for him. Strangely we wouldn’t budge and he ended up going to Chelsea for £12m. It looks like Chelsea signing him was only a way to stop us signing him as he hardly featured for Chelsea.

Now we got the opener early in the second half, many thought the floodgates would open. Maybe if James Milner had converted the penalty a few minutes later, then they may have done. Two penalty misses on the bounce for Milner. And two on the bounce for the team after Saleh’s miss on Saturday.

Emre Can – Is He Staying Or Is He Going?

Did Maribor Remind You Of Anyone

Did Maribor Remind You Of Anyone

Emre Can really does divide opinion doesn’t he? On occasions he seems to be cumbersome and quite lethargic in his approach. While on others, he seems to be dynamic and a potent driving force. I think he displayed a mix of all his good and bad habits in the same game last night. Often in the first half he seemed to dwell too long on the ball and want too many touches. In the second half he seemed to be focused on driving forward. This was evidenced by the excellent goal he slotted in at the Kop end. A really neat interchange with James Milner and a cool pass into the bottom corner. Maybe Jurgen had a word at half time.

I thought Oxlaide-Chamberlain showed some more good touches last night as well. He seems to be finding his feet a bit more.

Were Maribor really that bad or did Alberto Moreno look in control and neatly composed last night for the most part? I say for the most part as he still lunged in a couple of times. But overall no one can deny that he is showing so much better form than probably ever before in his Liverpool career.

Remaining Games

As well as doing our goal difference no harm whatsoever, the two games against Maribor has put us firmly in the driving seat. At least qualification is entirely in our hands. A victory against Sevilla in our next game will see us through. A draw wouldn’t be a disaster but as Spartak Moscow will probably beat Maribor, we should go all out for victory against Sevilla. A draw would mean it going down to the last game, with three teams vying for two slots.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to not only the remaining two Group games but the domestic season as well. Watching the highlights on ITV when I got home last night was interesting in so far as hearing Roy Keane’s thoughts. In short, he said Liverpool were just drifting and that he wouldn’t watch us if we were playing in his back garden. That’s all well and good. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Lee Dixon also said that signing one defender will not solve our defensive woes. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s not. Comparisons were also made to Tottenham’s progression. Yes, Tottenham are going well and are a top side. But, although taking on board that injuries are all part and parcel of football, they are not comparing like for like are they?

Let’s say we do sign Virgil Van Dijk in January. That to me is another piece of the jigsaw in place. It is not a massive overhaul by any stretch of the imagination. But if he, or another quality centre half arrives, and when Mane, Coutinho, Clyne and Lallana are all available again, we are surely a different proposition aren’t we? Shouldn’t this be the Liverpool to be compared to Tottenham? And if we add Naby Keita to that mix? As I said about a new centre half, another piece of the jigsaw in place.

As well as potential new signings coming in what about some of the exciting youngsters stepping up to the plate? It seems that it is only a matter of time before Rhian Brewster will be forcing his way into the first team picture. Not only Brewster though. Solanke, Woodburn, Wilson, Ejaria to name just a few more.

We may not progress out of our Group. If we do, we may not even get that far in the knock-out stages. But there again we may be a surprise package. After all, there is no focus on us. It is all on Manchester City, Tottenham and PSG at the moment. If we had a full squad available I would fancy us to give any team a game.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. We need to get out of the Group first. But, if we don’t, then we should go all out to win the Europa Cup. That way we will not only win a trophy but get ourselves back into the Champions League.

Everything in the garden is not necessarily rosy, but it is not as bad as many pundits will have you believe either. As the old cliche says – In Jurgen We Trust!!

Did Maribor Remind You Of Anyone?

So, by the way, did Maribor remind you of anyone? The biggest difference between the two sides for me is that one of them a few million quid (if that), while the other cost about a zillion plus!!

In case you missed the action, here is a short video showing the main highlights…..

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