Liverpool achieved job priority No. 1 on Saturday: getting back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth, with the Reds’ ability to bounce back on show once again.
A clear theme earlier in the season was the way Jurgen Klopp‘s squad reacted to setbacks, be it in terms of player injuries or needing late goals.
That resilience was on show against West Ham a few weeks ago, too, and will be needed against Atletico Madrid next week—but first and foremost, three points on the board against the Cherries were a requirement after three defeats in four.
Despite Callum Wilson’s contentious early strike, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane turned the game around for the Reds, who were without regular goalkeeper Alisson, captain Jordan Henderson and left-back Andy Robertson through injury.
Speaking to the club website after the game, Adrian said the team’s ability to find a win after recent defeats proved that they remain on the hunt for major prizes and that the side is ready to take on all challengers.
Adrian also made the point that the experience within the team has to take centre stage at the toughest of moments, helping each other back to the right track.
“It was a tough game after a few bad results. The confidence of everyone was a bit down but I think today we showed the winning mentality is back, the team came back after the early goal from Bournemouth.
“We showed again that we are here to face the end of the season and face the big challenges that are coming and the three points was the most important thing today, and we got them.
“I think the experienced players, we have to show character out on the pitch. When you are not in the best moment, to show that character and come back full of confidence. I think today we showed character, we came back into the game, we scored two good goals with Sadio and Mo.”
Of course, the focus is always on the next game at Liverpool and that goes double this time, with a rest-of-the-season-defining midweek clash to look forward to in the Champions League.
As the Kop rightly sings, we’re gonna win the league, but if the Reds want to prolong meaningful action into late April and May then Champions League progression is a must.
That means coming from 1-0 down against Atletico Madrid at Anfield in the second leg, and Adrian says the squad are already looking ahead to that game and preparing for nothing other than victory.
“On Wednesday we face a big challenge against Atletico Madrid here at Anfield. We need to come back against the result in Madrid but Anfield will be on fire for sure, the fans will be supporting us from the first second.
“We will go for the game from the first second and from tonight we will be thinking about that game because it is the most important game of the season right now.
“I think we know the style of play of Atletico. We have to prepare in the next few days as well as possible to try to keep the ball, be patient, to move the ball quick because for sure they are going to defend the result here.
“But it’s going to be very difficult for them to defend again for 95 minutes, here at Anfield it’s a different history.
“Madrid was Madrid but now we have the second leg here so we hope and we are thinking to try to come back in that game and win the game for sure.”
Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Salah hit his 70th league goal in his 100th league game for the Reds.
He was typically modest about his achievements, saying it’s all about the team when speaking to BT Sport post-match.
“I always love to score and help the team to get the points and today we showed our personality after [going] 1-0 down, so we had to react to that and I think we did well and we got the result.
“We need to keep going for the next three games and the rest of the season.”
Left-back Andy Robertson was left out as a precaution, but had only massive words of praise for the player who took his position, with James Milner producing a vital last-ditch clearance off the line.
Fellow defender Van Dijk alluded to a tough fixture and an important showing of mental strength:
Several players ticked off another box en-route to the title:
— Adrián San Miguel (@AdriSanMiguel) March 7, 2020
And Adrian and Milner look ahead to the next challenge:
The Reds are back in action on Wednesday against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, where we’ll hope Anfield can help keep alive our hopes of defending our European title.