Daily Archives: March 6, 2023

Liverpool in Seventh Heaven at Anfield

Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United: Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah goals  secure win - BBC Sport

Salah scoring the goal that breaks Robbie Fowler’s Liverpool record

Liverpool hosted Manchester United at Anfield in what was proving to be a pulsating encounter following the forms of the teams involved. One of the perks of supporting a Premier League club like Arsenal, is that there will be days when you get your popcorn, soft drinks, 3-D glasses and just enjoy the drama that’s the Premier League. I went through all sorts of emotions when the Gunners hosted Bournemouth at the Emirates, and Reiss Nelson’s match winning goal is the type I’d tell my grandkids someday on a night warm afternoon in Lagos.

Following the draw against Chelsea and back-to-back losses to Brighton in the FA Cup and Wolves in the Premier League, Liverpool steadied the ship with a routine win over their Merseyside rivals, Everton, and completed the double over Newcastle on Tyneside. Real Madrid came to town and showed their class, and Jurgen Klopp’s men were rather unfortunate to leave Selhurst Park without a victory, before having some relief with the win over Wolves. This upsurge of form also put them within touching distance of the Top Four positions, making the clash against Manchester United all the sweeter. Manchester United, on the other hand, arrived at Anfield in blazing form, winning nine of their last 11 games, since the defeat to yours truly, Arsenal, in January. 

The stage was set, and I loved what I saw – high octane action from start to finish with both sides stuck in and their quality on show. There was even time for another routine Alisson Becker howler from a simple back pass, but Bruno Fernandes was more interested in trying to con the ref for a penalty, rather than you know, attacking the ball that would have led to Manchester United’s first goal.

Manchester United drew first blood when they worked up an attack from the right, and Antony whipped in a shot aimed for the bottom corner from his magic wand of a left foot, akin to the one that settled the tie against Barcelona, but Alisson was on hand to make a superb save. Lisandro Martinez showed some last-ditch defending when Andrew Robertson’s cross was bound for Darwin Nunez’s path but the tenacious hobbit defender showed some doggedness and executed a great clearance. 

Manchester United showed their confidence, with some nice attacking play, but no penetration. There was the Bruno Fernandes low diving Chicharito-esque header from a Diogo Dalot cross that missed by a lick of paint, and everyone was bemused to see the red hot Marcus Rashford fluff his chances after Luke Shaw fed him with a carefully threaded diagonal ball from the left flank. Oh yeah, there was the Casemiro header that went into the back of the net from a Fernandes cross but he failed to time his run well and was caught offside. 

You know, I’m still basking in the euphoria of winning Bournemouth on Saturday, so seeing Liverpool and Manchester United trying to tear each other apart, from a safe distance at the top of the table, was just bliss. But I wanted to see goals and boy, did they come with reckless abandon from the home side. Let’s review them shall we?

1 – 0: Cody Gakpo (43′)

After some brilliant attacking play on the left, Robertson slid in cushioned a pass in behind Dalot to Cody Gakpo. The Dutch forward sent Raphael Varane to the trenches in Paris before curling it past a hapless David de Gea rooted to the spot. And the floodgates opened!

2 – 0: Darwin Nunez (47′)

Shaw and Casemiro conceded possession cheaply, which led to a goalmouth scramble in the box. With Shaw unable to clear his lines, Harvey Elliott latched onto the loose ball and drilled it into the danger area that was nodded a point-blank range by Darwin Nunez

3 – 0: Cody Gakpo (50′)

This was the most filthy goal of the lot.

Mohamed Salah bore down on goal from the right flank from a counter and was marked tightly by Martinez. Within moments, Salah made Martinez show him his number before leaving him for dead on the Anfield turf.

WATCH: Salah humiliates Lisandro Martinez with silky dribble – All Soccer

The Egyptian Pharoah rolled the pass to Gakpo’s path, and the Dutch forward lofted in a dinked finish from a very tight angle. Beauty personified. 

4 – 0: Mo Salah (66′)

After yet another swift Liverpool counter attack, Nunez prodded a pass that ricocheted into Salah’s path, and the Liverpool ace wasted no time in blasting a right-footed volley that smashed the underside of the bar before creeping in.

5 – 0: Darwin Nunez (75′)

Liverpool won a free kick on the right, with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s dead ball delivery cleared only as far as Jordan Henderson. The Liverpool skipper lofted the ball back into the box and it was nodded home by Nunez!

6 – 0: Mo Salah (83′)

United’s defense were in sixes and sevens, and more calamitous defending was on show, as Elliott had acres of space on the right and located Roberto Firmino, who was challenged by Shaw. However, Shaw’s clearance was bereft of confidence, and the ball bounced off Firmino to Salah’s path, who wasted no time in smashing it in to make it six.

That was Salah’s 129th Premier League goal for Liverpool, which saw him surpass Robbie Fowler’s long standing record for the club. Since his arrival in 2017, Salah has been an epitome of consistency, smashing the 20-Premier League goal mark in the four of his first five seasons with the club. With 11 goals scored in the League this season, he’s odds on to make it five in six. 

7 – 0: Roberto Firmino (88′)

Roberto Firmino, that has confirmed that he will be leaving the club on a Bosman this summer, put the icing on a well baked cake with the seventh goal of the night. Mo Salah cut in from the right and found the Brazilian forward that showed good movement to get the ball under control and dispatch the ball past de Gea. Dalot tried to stop the ball on the line, but his attempt was as good as Lee Mason’s ability to draw a VAR line.

The absolutely amazing result put Liverpool on 42 points, just three behind Spurs with a game less. The seven goals also helped Liverpool’s goal difference, that moved it to + 19, so if Liverpool wins that game in hand, they’d be fourth, with them having a better goal difference than Spurs.

This was the part where I ran out of popcorn and drinks and stuff, but it was a fascinating watch, and was nice to see Liverpool in seventh heaven at Anfield.


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