Monday 16 July 2018

Belief in boss growing with every match

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures during the game Photo: Reuters
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gestures during the game Photo: Reuters
James Milner Photo: Reuters

With every game the certainty grows. Jurgen Klopp is made for Liverpool and he's now just one step from small miracle.

If he can hand over a trophy and Champions League football after a wet day in the job, who knows where he will take us in the next few years.

This was classic Liverpool football against Villarreal. Defend high up the pitch with energy, win the ball back and then use it quickly and well.

But some reality first. The difference between this Liverpool team and the ones which ruled Europe is quality.

James Milner is a great-hearted player but in the Liverpool I want to see, he would be a good squad player. If that sounds unfair to Milner. It's not.

There is a quality gap which needs to be bridged. Right now, Milner is one of Klopp's best players but I want someone who can use the ball much, much better when Liverpool win it back.

Liverpool hit the ground running and absolutely blew Villarreal away for most of the first-half.

They got the early goal thanks to pure, raw pressure and it wasn't a pretty thing. Daniel Sturridge was where he should be, hunting down chances in the box and unnerved Bruno enough to force the own goal.

The big concern for me after an excellent first-half performance was the fact that Liverpool just couldn't find a second goal despite a parade of crosses, chances and goalmouth scrambles.

They kept up the pace though after-half time and Villarreal had no real answer.

A second was inevitable and Sturridge obliged.

His celebration showed a heartening display of emotion which is a good sign for his future at the club.

When Victor Ruiz was sent off for a second yellow card, the concern about away goals vanished.

They were struggling while he was on the pitch and when Adam Lalana knocked in a third, Villarreal were done.

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