Liverpool defeated Bournemouth 1-0 in the first home game of the season. It was an unconvincing performance from the home side, but what matters is that the Reds now have two wins in two, and six points on the board before they begin a tough run of fixtures starting next week at the Emirates.
Here are some things we learnt from the game.
Christian Benteke is more than just another target man
The A?32.5million striker got his first goal for Liverpool on his home debut. The need for a new striker to score quickly is so imperative and the big Belgian will be proud of his performance. What was especially encouraging to see, was that the former Villa man acted more than just a big target man. He scored a poacher’s goal, but his movement, link-up play, first touches and presence in the air (expectedly) were all excellent as well. Besides scoring the controversial goal, Benteke also hit the bar once.
It was the right time for the player to get off the mark and Liverpool fans will now hope he is the striker they’ve been craving for a while, someone who could get around 20 goals at minimum.
Bournemouth were hard done by, but need goals to survive
Two narrow 1-0 defeats; one because of Aston Villa striker Rudy Gestede’s late header and the other due to a controversial goal that would have been ruled out 9 out of 10 times. Eddie Howe and the team has reason to feel hard done by. The Cherries kept Liverpool in check in the opening and closing minutes of the game and also had a goal harshly disallowed. They had the right attitude and didn’t come to a tough destination looking to just get a point by keeping men in defence. They played their normal attacking game and did well too.
There is no doubt that the club will be winning games in no time if they can keep up this level of performance. However, last season, we saw Sean Dyche’s Burnley play beautifully on occasions. But the lack of goals for the Clarets meant they eventually sank and it could be the same case for Bournemouth. They need to put points on the board as eventually, points outweigh performances.
Lallana not doing enough to justify his price tag, or his starting berth
This season was going to be one of redemption for the former Saints captain. After a start-stop beginning to life at Anfield, Lallana seemed to be determined to prove himself this time out.
It isn’t that Lallana lacks talent; he has shown in his Saints career as well as in glimpses at Liverpool that he possesses enough to warrant a spot in the starting 11. But he doesn’t seem to apply it in the same fashion as he did at Southampton. He seems too timid on occasions as though his confidence is lacking, which is in stark contrast to his interviews and pre-match quotes.
Granted it has been only two games, but the player has hardly done anything worthy of note for his team. With Roberto Firmino getting closer to a start – as he should be now – it should be Lallana who is sacrificed over teenager Jordon Ibe. Ibe himself hasn’t been too impressive in the two games and doesn’t look like a player who should start every game. But based solely on these two performances, he can still be picked ahead of the 27-year-old.
Alberto Moreno’s impressive cameo gives Rodgers something to think about
Youngster Joe Gomez has taken Moreno’s role as a left-back and the 18-year-old has performed admirably in both games to keep that spot too. Rodgers said that Alberto Moreno (and Lazar Markovic) still has a Liverpool future, despite being replaced in the starting 11 by the former Charlton teenager. He may be absolutely right about Moreno.
The Spaniard – also still 23 – came on in the last 10 minutes for Philippe Coutinho and played as a left-winger. He was lively and made a surging run towards the box, which reminded everyone of his wonderful goal against Tottenham last season. He was determined to prove a point, and he basically did.
There is no doubt that Moreno is not defensively reliable. The player loves to attack too much and gets caught out of position way too often. Last season, he said, “When I was a kid I played more as a winger or a wide attacking midfielder – not as a full-back. But I always like to score goals and above all, provide assists, which is what an attacking full-back has to do.”
This basically illustrates the kind of player he still is. Rodgers could think about using him on the left wing in the coming games. He can cross the ball from out wide, something Ibe and Lallana haven’t done too much of in the recent games and something which needs to be done with Benteke in the box. It might be a move that doesn’t pay dividends, but it is worth the risk. Against Arsenal, Liverpool will need inspiration and they might get it from an unlikely source.