Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after LASK 1 Liverpool 3 in the Europa League group stage at the Raiffeisen Arena…
I JUST want to talk about Mo Salah.
But that is a luxury.
Let’s talk about the rest and see if we feel luxurious.
I want to talk about this: Union SG celebrate getting Liverpool. It excites them. It offers them the biggest day of their lives.
The truth is that Liverpool end up in a dog of a game on a dog of a pitch. But they win it and eventually win it well.
The question is if they create the circumstances where it is a dog of a game or if they are created for them.
That question has a sub question around the manager’s selection. Everything done by the manager is vindicated by the win.
Yet. There is this thing: I want Liverpool to go ahead in a game and look after a game. That’s it. I want that to happen. The opposition score a goal that verges on a once in a lifetime moment in a once in a lifetime game, and we therefore look rocky.
If Union SG celebrated getting Liverpool imagine LASK too. Imagine Toulouse. Imagine Wolves. Imagine almost everyone we play every year. Every week. This is our reality. This is the pressure of being Liverpool.
I understand all the mitigation, but still I want us to manage it. Manage it with those centre backs. Manage it with Greek and Japanese internationals. Manage it with a Colombian wideman they have never known the likes of.
Yet Liverpool never quite manage that. But what they all do manage, the centre backs, the internationals, the wide men, is they manage to reassert. Not for the first time this season they manage to reassert and I love that.
I want them to have the ability to reassert. I just want them to also assert.
Anyway, Darwin Nunez has the sort of game that if you are Harry Kane everyone would love, but Harry Kane has got to become Harry Kane over time because of other games. I love Nunez, though. He is approaching favourite player territory if it wasn’t for the ongoing existence of Mo Salah.
Harvey Elliott’s second half excuses his first. He is bright as a button all of a sudden. Reasserting.
Luis Diaz, second half, is as good as he is first half. Just second half it is within 30 yards of their goal rather than 60 of his. The whole Luis Diaz cheatcode is getting him doing it all the way up there. The more that happens the better, because he is an incredible attacker who needs to not be an all-rounder 90 per cent of the time; at the Etihad, fine. But not here.
Liverpool get what they deserve in the end. They do deserve it and they yet again pen a side in and turn the screw.
Then they introduce the best player I have ever seen play for Liverpool, the best player ever to play against LASK, the footballer who should play Champions League football for the next five years. The best one.
I love Mo Salah and he scores and is better, faster, stronger than anyone else. He gets another European goal for Liverpool. Yet another.
He’s the greatest luxury of our lives. The best thing that ever happened to us.
First step in this competition.
First hurdle. Every day can be the biggest day, you know.
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“Sometimes you take him for granted, he comes onto that pitch and just injects quality.”
“It’s a funny game, Liverpool bring the likes of him off the bench. The three changes make us so much better.”
Post Match Podcast pic.twitter.com/z47CrPS1mS
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) September 21, 2023