A young Liverpool FC side drew 1-1 against Bordeaux last night in their opening Europa League tie. Hoping for a win after two disappointing losses, Liverpool fans could have done with a win. It was not all gloom and doom and we pick out three positives the Reds can take from the game
1 – Mamadou Sakho’s man of the match performance
The marginalization of Sakho for Dejan Lovren has caused a lot of debate among Liverpool FC fans. Sakho was the best Liverpool FC defender last season. Despite that, it was the error-prone Dejan Lovren who was getting the nod over the Frenchman.
Finally handed a chance to show what he can offer, Sakho put in a display that reiterated almost the entire Liverpool fan base’s opinion of playing him over the Croat. Sakho was given the captain’s armband in the absence of James Milner and Jordan Henderson, and the defender showed the leadership skills in the defence that Liverpool FC have lacked so much over the past few games when they conceded three goals each.
Sakho has stalled an extension offered to his on his current contract that will run till 2017. The defender is waiting to see if he is given first team opportunities at Anfield. With such displays, there should be no doubt about his place, given the self-destructive defending that comes with Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel.
Praising the defender’s showing, Rodgers confirmed in his post-game press conference that is now in contention to feature against Norwich City.
Contention? He should be walking in the XI right now.
2 – The glimpse of real Adam Lallana
Lallana’s career at Anfield has been rather frustrating. Coming off a fantastic 2013-14 season at St. Mary’s, the former Southampton captain saw his first season at Anfield blighted with injuries. The stop-start to his short career at Anfield so far meant he is yet to show the form he did with the Saints. However, last night, the tricky Englishman showed a glimpse of what he is all about.
Returning from an injury, Lallana had expressed his frustrations on being unable to help his team mates out in their lean patch currently. Starting off rather shakily, he grew in the game, scoring a quite sublime goal to give the Reds the lead. Picking up the ball on the left hand side of Liverpool’s attack, Lallana nutmegged the defender before coolly slotting in the ball to the left-hand corner of the Bordeaux goalkeeper that left him with no chance to save the goal. Having scored the goal, Lallana’s confidence shot up, he linked up very well with Coutinho, showing the Reds faithful what they can expect once he gets a consistent run of games.
3 – The promise of youth
When Kolo Toure made his way in the 28th minute due to an injury for Pedro Chirivella, Liverpool had two 18-year old central midfielder in the midfield. The average age of the XI was just 21.7
Rossiter had a fine game, with the Scouser showing just why he is so highly rated with his neat distribution and tenacious display. Rossiter’s perfect technique to volley a shot at the Bordeaux goalkeeper illustrated his hard work on the training ground to emulate his idol Xabi Alonso.
Chirivella on the other hand overcame a nervy beginning to put in an assured performance with neat passes. The two 18-year old looked comfortable on the ball.
Joe Gomez was decent on the night, playing in a familiar central defensive role, although he could have done a bit better for the Bordeaux goal when he allowed the attacker to have one too many touches on the ball.
Jordon Ibe was a disappointment though. The player seems to be shadow of the one who ran at players with pace, terrorizing them. It was as if someone had tied weight on his jet heels. The Reds shirt seems to be weighing very heavy on Ibe, and he needs to relax a bit more to get back to his original self.