The Anfield checklist was completed again today.
Liverpool win - check.
Liverpool score at least three - check.
Mo Salah scores - check.
If people wanted a response to the last couple of performances, they got it. Much better than Luton and Toulouse from everyone involved. Players who've been given sh*t in the last few weeks really stepped up today - or at least most did.
First half was a bit on the nervy side of things as we looked wide open at the back. From a very early set piece for them up until Mo opened the scoring, we looked like we could concede at any moment. But from Mo scoring to Diogo killing the game off with his third, it was a formality. After the third, we gave them a few half chances but nothing to get too worried about.
Could tell the boss was happy with the performance and knew that with an international break coming up next that we could allow to use the starting XI for almost the entire game.
It's another one chalked off, another step closer to the quadruple and for now we're right there with City at the top of the table. Some had written this season off before a ball was kicked, others were questioning us on the back of the last two or three games but we're proving that we're up for the fight this year. Couple of injuries over the last couple of years would have seen us struggling but this year we seem to have that little bit more depth that is allowing us to accomodate those eventualities.
Alisson - I'm unquestionably his biggest critic on this forum but today I thought what he had to do was, he did with F***ing ease. I don't think there were any real threats bar that one on one where he made himself big and got a hand to it. Everything else was saves he should make but make them he did.
Alexander-Arnold - was almost as bad an opening 20 minutes or so as anybody in our history. Don't think he made a successful pass in that time. And I thought it was apt we were playing a team sponsored by "hollywood" because Trent was trying to play Hollywood passes too often. As the game went on though, he did improve. One lovely pass to Mo from a set piece that Mo decided to place into the stand instead of the net. Defensively, he'll always have his problems and I don't think Jürgen seems interested in getting him to improve on that side of things so maybe we shouldn't be too focused on it.
Matip - didn't cover himself in glory in France but today was back to the Joel Matip that I love. And he should be given man of the match just for his reaction to getting booked. It was hysterical but so was the fact he got booked in the first place.
Van Dijk - said it a few times this season that he looks back to the Van Dijk pre-injury. Strong, quick, commanding and most of all decisive. Massive improvement on where he was 12 months ago. Immense again today.
Tsimikas - he's been slaughtered recently and rightly so because he's been shockingly bad. First half looked like it was going down that route again but second half he picked up. A bit like Trent on the other side, it's his strength to be going forward. When he's asked to defend, he's going to struggle. Today was a game where he was allowed to showcase his strength more than his weakness. Good game Greek.
Szoboszlai - it was another poor showing from him I thought. Didn't really offer much with the ball and seemed to give it away a lot.
Endo - he plays football the way some cricketers bat. By that I mean he has to feel bat on ball, or in his case foot on ball. He seems reluctant to jockey the opposition and instead always tries to win the ball and nick it away. And that's why he's always walking the tightrope to getting booked and also why people just roll him so easily. But he gets stuck in and that's always a plus in my book. We've lacked someone with a real bite to them for a while.
Gakpo - much better showing from him in the middle of the park than the first couple of games of the season. Seems to be getting back his fitness and sharpness. Wasn't outstanding today but I thought he did alright.
Salah - his 197th and 198th goals for Liverpool came at a time when we really needed them to calm our nerves. He's sheer quality. You can tell he's enjoying his football right now, especially when playing with Trent, Dom and Darwin. That quartet down the right is getting Mo back to his very best.
Nunez - today was the sort of game where just his presence is warranting a start. He wasn't great but he worked his bollocks off and gives space to others because the opposition know they have to mark him. He offers us a real threat with his pace. He's a big b***ard. He's just a c**t to play against. And he plays with a smile on his face a lot of the time.
Jota - give him a chance and he'll score more often than not. Today wasn't his usual poachers finish but instead an effort from outside the box. And he's gone to 49 goals for the club, almost the half century for Diogo. He's tireless as well. Almost a Dirk Kuyt type engine but with quality in his feet as well.
subs - all four of them came on that late in the game that there wasn't much more than a cameo from all. Harvey did have a decent effort from distance that forced a save from their keeper.
Overall, F***ing much improved from where we've been. Back to back three nil wins at Anfield in the League and three consecutive clean sheets at Anfield. Six games at Anfield in the League, six wins this season. A real fortress.