Liverpool analysis - Andy Robertson transfer truth emerges as Mohamed Salah talk ends
Robertson shows transfer benefit
Andy Robertson doesn’t score too often. But when he does, they tend to matter.
Only time will determine whether his opportunist far-post header to break the deadlock against Everton proves quite as transformative as his strike from a similar position at Aston Villa during the 2019/20 championship-winning campaign.
But a first goal in front of the Kop – and how Robertson celebrated – was deserved reward for the left-back’s willingness and persistence to keep pushing forward in the face of such awkward Everton resistance.
Nor did he shirk his defensive responsibilities, nicking the ball clear as Alex Iwobi prepared to convert substitute Dele Alli’s cutback as Everton pressed for an equaliser.
Robertson has this season benefited from not only the competition provided by Kostas Tsimikas, but also the occasional rest the Greek’s form has permitted. Excellent against both Manchester City and United last week, like so many of his team-mates the Scot is hitting peak condition at exactly the right time.
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On the other flank, Trent Alexander-Arnold was given a tough time by Everton youngster Anthony Gordon, whose pace was the primary outlet of the visitors.
The right-back, though, held firm. For good reason has no team kept more clean sheets in the Premier League this season.
Origi merits new deal
Come on, now. Did you really expect Divock Origi to allow his final Merseyside derby to pass without incident?
For all the constant chatter of contracts around Liverpool, there’s one unique deal they should now consider. Wherever Origi ends up this summer - and AC Milan looks a good bet - the Reds would do well to negotiate a loan move to bring back the Belgian specifically for this fixture.
Origi did as Origi does, emerging from the bench to play an integral part in the game-breaking opener and then nodding in the second late on, his sixth goal against Everton. Only Steven Gerrard has now scored more for the Reds against their neighbours in the Premier League.
Having long fallen down the forward pecking order, Origi has barely been seen this season, amassing a mere 101 minutes in the top flight. But his contribution, as at Wolverhampton Wanderers back in December, has often been crucial, which say much for not only the striker’s talent, but also a mentality to make the most of any opportunity, no matter how fleeting.
Credit, too, must go to Klopp and his coaching staff who realised the value of a switch to a good old-fashioned 4-4-2 in outfoxing Everton.
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“A legend,” said Klopp of Origi after the game. The striker may never rub shoulders with the true Liverpool greats but, in terms of moments, he is almost unsurpassed. His is a Reds career like no other.
Salah talk should be shelved
Possession isn’t everything. But the sheer weight of Liverpool’s dominance against Everton was underlined by two outrageous statistics.
Thiago Alcantara finished the game with a pass accuracy in excess of 98% and completed more passes than the whole Everton team combined. By contrast, rival midfielder Allan attempted six passes in his 73 minutes on the pitch and completed just two – both from a kick-off.
While Thiago wasn’t quite as prominent as against United last week, he remained influential in allowing Liverpool to eventually capitalise on the control being offered by Everton’s willingness to dig in.
Ultimately, though, it required a moment of skill from Mohamed Salah to unlock the door, a delicious, chipped cross that drew praise from Everton boss Frank Lampard.
Salah had prompted yet more intrigue in the build-up with the release of another interview in which he once more skirted around the issue of his new contract.
Hopefully such talk can now be shelved until the summer. The Egyptian clearly has the bit between his teeth again. And with so much to play for over the next five weeks, that cannot be compromised.
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