The smiles return

With regards to things that define ‘hard to believe’, Kolo Toure’s headed goal against Aston Villa is proving to be stiff competition for the idea that Joleon Lescott ‘accidentally’ tweeted the picture of a flash sports car after his side’s thrashing to Liverpool. 

 

Many will still be questioning why Sky Sports decided to air a Liverpool training session, strangely held at Villa Park, as part of a Super Sunday triple header. Perhaps it was down to rare visuals of Daniel Sturridge leaving the field unharmed or Remi Garde wondering what he has to do to be sacked?

 Top four might be gone for Liverpool but that’s not to say Jurgen Klopp’s side can’t still have a huge impact on the rest of the league.

 Some optimism was rekindled at the weekend when the return of Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho inspired a merciless performance from the reds. Even after having Sturridge back for one game, it makes you wonder how high in the league the team could be had he been fit all season.

 The performance in the first half was average. It was reminiscent of the way the team have started games all season- slow and unsure. The difference being was the two goals. Sturridge’s presence turned Liverpool into a different side- one that threatened a goal even if they weren’t playing that great. As for James Milner’s goal, it was a good demonstration of Villa’s dodgeball skills. Another line of work to consider maybe?

 A front three of Sturridge, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino portrays Liverpool as a side capable of challenging at the top. Their movement is world class, as is their ability to spot a pass and create chances. Sturridge is undoubtedly up there with the very best finishers in football.

 Divock Origi’s arrival in the second half was another pleasant reminder of Klopp’s attacking options when players are fit. He showed great pace and movement for his goal and demonstrated how he can stretch tiring defenders. Primary school children being taught about similes might even say he was as fast as the car Joleon Lescott could be looking to buy.

 Jordan Henderson put it perfectly when he explained how Sturridge could give the side a ‘fear-factor’ again. The team looked more confident as a result of the return of both Sturridge and Coutinho. They are always going to create chances and it is up to the rest of the team to do their jobs in order to benefit from their star quality. Reliance on a few outstanding members of the team seemed to work when Suarez was at Liverpool, so why not now?

 Liverpool still have to play title contenders in Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur before the end of the season, so there is still a chance for Klopp’s men to have a say on who finishes top. The team still have a cup final to play in as well as a chance to experiment in the Europa League.

 The announcement that Schalke’s Joel Matip will join the club in the summer added to the positive mood this week. It marks Klopp taking full control over transfer business and also him beginning to build his own team. Matip will add much needed height and strength to the defence and will bring lots of experience.

 Thursday’s Europa League meeting with FC Augsberg will be a chance for the players to build on Sunday’s league win. It is also a chance for Klopp to rotate his side and for Sturridge to get some more valuable gain time. The Europa League has its critics, but Liverpool might as well go all out to try and win it while they are still contenders.

 A win tomorrow would mark a great week on Merseyside. The return of players from injury is threatening to kick start a strong finish to the season ahead of what promises to be an exciting summer transfer window for the reds.

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