It will hardly go down as a football classic, but nonetheless, Liverpool has won three points from their latest outing and that is all what matters for Jurgen Klopp at the moment. Described by football commentators as one of the least eventful matches in the Premier League so far, both teams failed to create opportunities, let alone score goals in the 90 minutes. And it wasn’t for Mane’s rebound goal in the 94th minute; nobody would have even bothered watching the replay ever!
It was just one of those nights. Two teams lost in a wilderness in the middle. Liverpool failed to create many opportunities and the ones that looked promising was nipped in the bud by the Everton midfield. Looking back, there were hardly any scoring opportunities created by Everton. A huge chunk of credit should go to Daniel Sturridge, who in the 94th minutes reminded us all why he is such an expensive player.
At the end of the full 90 minutes, the chances of Liverpool walking away with 3 points never seemed probable, thanks to some wayward shooting and lack of goal scoring opportunities. Sturridge was introduced in the attack a mere 15 minutes before the end and from out of the blue; he produced a shot that a regular goalkeeper should have saved without much fuss. But not Joel Robles. He allowed it to roll past him and the ball rebounded off the goal post to a waiting Sadio Mane, thus pushing Everton to their first home defeat in nine months. Maybe with their regular goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with them, Everton may have surely denied the Reds the three points. Perhaps, it was fitting that the goal was as uneventful as the rest of the game.
However, Jurgen Klopp refused to belittle the win on account of the dull display. He attributed the lackadaisical performance to the ‘wild football’ Everton played. He insisted that the best he could expect from such an opponent was three points, whether it came out of an uneventful match or a classic.
Perhaps the only man in the field for whom the victory must have been extra sweeter could be the goal scorer himself, for it always is a great feeling to win against a former manager’s team. Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, might rue the fact that he had to go into a high-profile match without Gareth Barry, which seemed to have disrupted his whole game strategy. To compensate for the loss of his star player, Koeman infused a few athletic performers into the side and to an extent; they served the purpose of running around aggressively and making the occasional tackle. But, none of them could match the skill of Barry, which resulted in a dearth of scoring opportunities.
Even when he was introduced at half-time, there was too little time left to redraw the strategies and just like the others, he had to go through the motions and if it wasn’t for Mane’s moment of brilliance, it could well have been a match that everyone would forget before the next match.