Liverpool returned to action and got right back to winning ways after the winter break, beating Norwich City 1-0 at Carrow Road on Saturday evening.
After two weeks without a game for the senior members of the squad, it was back to business in the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp rotated a little to give minutes to returning players, notably Naby Keita from the start and both James Milner and Sadio Mane off the bench, and it was the latter who won the game with his second-half strike.
Liverpool are now an incredible 25 points clear of Man City, having played a game more, and the title is only 15 points away.
Here are five key facts from the match which just go to show how unbelievably good this team has been, at the weekend again just as with the season as a whole.
Champions League qualification: assured!
Yes, it’s a far cry from desperately needing a win to secure a fourth-placed finish and a qualification play-off spot on the final day of the season.
Liverpool have now qualified for the Champions League next season, halfway through February, as spectacular as that sounds.
Man City‘s banning order from European competition, coupled with the Reds having dropped only two points all season long, combine to put Klopp’s team out of reach for more than three other clubs even if they didn’t pick up another point.
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 15, 2020
It’s fair to assume we might at least pick up a few more, however!
The records the team continues to break and the standards they are setting just get more ridiculous by the week, and although this one comes in part due to news of Man City‘s financial indiscretions, it’s also testament to how the best team in Europe are by far the best team in the league.
Incredible defensive record continues
Soon enough, the folks employed to read out full-time results on your favourite television or radio sports show will be getting paid less money—because for Liverpool games, they’ll only have to read out half the scoreline.
It’ll just be Liverpool’s goal tally, then left as-is, because the opposition are invariably only capable of ‘nil’.
The Joe Gomez–Virgil van Dijk partnership has been absurd this season and only needs to go ten minutes without conceding against West Ham next Monday to make it one goal conceded in 1,000 minutes of league play.
Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk’s record since being restored as a partnership in the PL on December 14.
0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0.
Raul Jiminez the only player to score against Liverpool in the last 990 PL minutes ?? ?
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) February 16, 2020
Van Dijk we already knew was the greatest, but Gomez’s influence on the team simply cannot be understated.
The two have a magical understanding, as telepathic as the greatest strike-partners in footballing history, and Gomez’s recovery pace, ability on the ball and room for further growth is just scary.
Number of matches Joe Gomez has started in the Premier League this season — 1?2?
Liverpool goals conceded in the Premier League matches Joe Gomez has started this season — 2?
Teemu Pukki and Raul Jimenez are the only players to score against Liverpool with Gomez starting ? pic.twitter.com/BGJ3yCjVYj
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) February 16, 2020
Of course, the man behind them should get plaudits too, with Alisson again proving his immense worth against Norwich, particularly with a save when the attackers were two-on-one against him.
Alisson has conceded 3 goals from the last 43 shots on target faced 93% save percentage
3 goals from 8.3 post shot eXpected Goals
— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) February 16, 2020
That chance wouldn’t have even registered on the xG records, as Alisson didn’t let them get a shot away.
Jordan Henderson, hidden hero.
Well, he’s not so hidden anymore, as the campaign for him to get Player of the Year seems to grow by the day, but he has certainly been at the top of his game over the last couple of months.
Importantly, it’s not just with running around, intimidating opponents and organising the team that his strengths have been on show, but also his on-the-ball contribution in the final third.
Jordan Henderson’s last 4 Premier League games:
West Ham ?
Norwich ?? pic.twitter.com/bs5qxB9tHS
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) February 15, 2020
Another one against Atletico would be nice!
Corner for you, goal for us
It used to be the case that a corner for the opposition was cause for massive concern.
Liverpool’s lack of organisation, lack of aerial dominance and general mayhem in the penalty area were all frequently on show—but it’s a different matter now.
In fact, we haven’t conceded off a corner in the Premier League all season long, an outrageous statistic which backs up the aforementioned defensive dominance.
Liverpool are best in the league in defending corners. From 120 corners faced, they’ve just conceded 1 goal. That translates to conceding only 0.83% of the corners against.
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) February 15, 2020
Former Genk striker Mbwana Samatta, now of Aston Villa, is the only one to have scored off a corner against the Reds, in the Champions League.
In fact, with the goals Liverpool have scored on the counter-attack against teams after they have had a corner, it’s statistically the case that a corner at Alisson‘s end of the pitch is a bigger chance for the Reds than the opposition!
Games = wins = points
Never stop, you mighty Reds.
There’s little to say about this brilliant run of form other than to again reiterate that it might never be beaten, might never be seen again and should be thoroughly and completely appreciated and enjoyed.
We are now the team with the outright second-best win-streak in the history of the English game, with six needed to level the record:
With their win at Norwich City on Saturday, Liverpool inches closer to history:
Longest Unbeaten Streaks in English Top Flight History
2003-04 Arsenal 49
2019-20 Liverpool 43<<
1977-78 Nottingham Forest 42
>>Active Streak pic.twitter.com/o7f3cN2die
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 16, 2020
We are now the team with the joint-second-longest win streak in Premier League history, level with…ourselves, earlier in the season:
Longest ever winning runs in Premier League history:
1. Man City (18) 2018
2. Liverpool (17) 2019
2= Liverpool (17) 2020
Witnessing greatness every week. pic.twitter.com/4wlFtlQYMW
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) February 15, 2020
One more will equal the all-time record, two more makes that particular one ours.
And, finally, we’re fast approaching a full season’s worth of league fixtures with just two points dropped across the span:
Liverpool are 3 wins away from 112 points of 114 available from their last 38 matches.
Rival fans pretending this form has only been since VAR's introduction are sorely ill-informed. #LFC
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) February 16, 2020
Keep it up, keep it going, and win the most outrageous Premier League title of dominance ever!