Kevin McGuinness learned three things by watching Liverpool humiliate local rivals Everton on Wednesday night. He’s been kind enough to share them with you below. Follow Kevin on Twitter @FussballKevin.
Liverpool continued their fine run of recent form under manager Jürgen Klopp, as the side rested for Sunday’s away win over Bournemouth returned to full strength to deliver yet another memorable night at Anfield.
Though the emphatic victory may not mean much in the league, it builds up invaluable momentum ahead of the much-anticipated Europa League clash with Spanish side Villarreal on Thursday.
Relief up top
It had become all too common knowledge from this campaign, and the last, that the Reds lacked a killer threat on the front line. Daniel Sturridge lacked fitness and Divock Origi seemed ineffective.
How things have changed.
Origi has hit back strongly at his critics, after being dubbed one of the worst players in Ligue 1 while out on loan load season. Five goals in his last five matches speaks for itself - a record
which bodes well for the future. The Belgian was stretchered off early into the second half, as a result of a horror challenge from Funes Mori, prompting referee Bobby Madley to send the defender off.
Klopp later revealed the injury wasn’t as bad as first feared.
Things are starting to look up, at long last and it seems strange that, after being ridden with injuries for what seems like forever, Sturridge has stayed off the sidelines for so long. A
traditional ice-cool finish saw the England international bag his 50th goal in a red shirt, and in 87 appearances, no less - bringing up his half-century quicker than the likes of Luis Suárez, Michael Owen and even Robbie
Fowler. In short, a fit Sturridge is a goalscoring Sturridge.
Although Danny Ings is still out and Christian Benteke is in disarray, it seems as if Liverpool are still blessed with two superb strikers.
Midfield capable of functioning
Despite the losses of Jordan Henderson and Emre Can to injury, in both legs against Borussia Dortmund, the midfield pair of James Milner and Lucas Leiva dominated the centre of the park.
Understandably, a good many fans were pessimistic over Klopp’s decision to not start Joe Allen, who was enjoying a footballing renaissance having put in some good performances of late.
However, after a shaky start, these doubts were put to rest. Captain Milner further demonstrated his ability to pick up assists, via two expert crosses for Origi and Mamadou Sakho, albeit aided by some poor Everton defending.
Although a natural holding midfielder with a preferred emphasis on defending, Lucas notched an assist, too. Slack play from Everton, allowed the Brazilian to win possession and findSturridge with a well-timed through ball.
Finally, Allen was also directly involved in a goal, not long after coming on as a sub to help seal the win.
Four goals all assisted by midfielders.
From the magnificent win at the Etihad to being embarrassed by newly-promoted Watford, Liverpool have been plagued with inconsistency this season. Great performances have been punctuated with drab, shallow matches.
Rather harshly, Klopp has been naively condemned by many for not having the desired instant effect many expected he at Anfield. Fortunately, these glimpses of promise are starting to bear fruit.
Recent wins have shown this Liverpool side are capable of pulling out first-rate results. Taking the game to the former Europa League favourites at the Westfalenstadion left many surprised, as Dortmund were enjoying a very strong season.
Not long after throwing away a two-goal lead at St. Mary’s, Liverpool showed their own mental strength in the second leg of their Europa League tie. A late fightback proved to many that this side is not to be dismissed.
Wednesday night showed the world Klopp has indeed had an effect on his new club and quashed any absurd claims suggesting he has improved little after taking the reigns from Brendan Rodgers.
On the back of tearing their neighbours apart, the Reds have now scored four goals in their last three matches at Anfield.