When he was quizzed on whether his side deserved their 2-1 win over Liverpool last week, Jose Mourinho’s response ranged from the defensive to the downright maniacal.
It is not a game that will live long in the memory of anyone who witnessed it, but Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Porto on Tuesday was significant in that nothing went wrong. Nobody played abysmally, and nobody got injured. Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford, we couldn’t wish for more.
Jurgen Klopp is a consummate professional, and so his post-match interviews are conducted with a stony-faced stoicism throughout, but even he would have been delighted with the 5-0 win over Porto in the first leg of this Champions League last 16 tie.
A change is as good as a rest, so the old saying goes, yet a more accurate mantra in football might be ‘a rest with no change is just as good.’ Liverpool’s early exit from the FA Cup had given them an extended break ahead of last Saturday’s clash with West Ham, and that was evident in the energy and vitality the Reds’ players showed from the first whistle to the last.
It seems like an eternity since Liverpool last played, and there can be no doubting that the rest will have done the players a world of good. They signed off on Valentine’s night in the most romantic way: a 5-0 drubbing of Porto that has all but booked our place in the Champions League quarter finals.
This is a sentiment that will be agreed with and dissented in equal measure, but for our money the goalkeeper is the most important player in any football team.
There are three things that Jurgen Klopp would adore from Liverpool’s Champions last 16 first leg tie with Porto: a win, obviously, but failing that an away goal or a clean sheet wouldn’t go amiss.
How to sum up the 2-2 barnstormer with Tottenham in a succinct and concise fashion? Hmm…. We can say that Liverpool were the better side for the opening 70 minutes and deserved to lead through Mo Salah’s goal. Then Spurs boss made a couple of substitutions that would ultimately change the game.
No alarms, no surprises: why can’t we play like that every week!? The 3-0 win over Huddersfield on Tuesday was almost effortless in its simplicity: despite the odd glimmer from the Terriers we were rarely troubled at the back, and Emre Can’s early deflected goal offered a level of comfortability.
Liverpool’s failure in the FA Cup is becoming something of a joke now, and this time we can’t even blame a weakened side for our third consecutive exit at the fourth round stage.