Magnificent Reds take major step, now for a big week of ghost busting

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A foot in the top-five door it is then. Correct the anomaly of our home record and a top-four finish will be ours.

When it comes to shapes being thrown on the pitch, when Liverpool are on an even keel, then nobody can touch them. A performance like the one they displayed at the Emirates is a rare thing against another Big 5 team.

Liverpool were magnificent at Arsenal, even when struggling to land a decent punch during the first half. Footballing disorientation for a home side, whose supporters used to mock us about ‘hoofing’ the ball under Gerard Houllier when at the peak of their Arsene Wenger years. Football’s wheel will always find a way of turning.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 3, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the second goal throughg the legs of Arsenal's goalkeeper Bernd Leno during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was a night when the shadow of the tragic David Rocastle cast itself across the evening. A spectacular player, that was lost at an obscenely young age, and somebody who by all accounts was a genuinely lovely human being. His former club honoured him wonderfully, and there was even the sighting of a Liverpool crest in what would normally be the away section. They do have a streak of class at Arsenal.

Almost three weeks since Liverpool had played, and despite us winning our previous two games prior to this hiatus, I freely admit that I had not watched a single game of football since the win at Wolves.

Football played by other teams in empty stadiums has finally become entirely unwatchable. As a warm-up to the Liverpool game, I tried to watch a bit of the Leicester City vs Manchester City game, but soon drifted off to pick up a curry instead. My hottest take from the game at the King Power was that I’d never noticed before just how much the current Premier League ball looks like the body of BB8.

Win, lose, or draw, I can zone on Liverpool’s games in empty stadiums, but when it comes to other teams, it simply cannot hold my attention. I could not even get wound up by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s omission from the England squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 3, 2021: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (R) and Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

While I do not particularly care about the England national team, I do care if not being involved pisses Trent off. This was an incident that should have annoyed me more than a simple roll of the eyes.

On the upside, these were events that inspired Trent’s wonderful performance on Saturday evening.

Trent’s teammates will be pissed off for him, and I would suggest there is a simmering anger that will serve us well between now and the end of the season. Liverpool players with a point to prove can be a potent force, and it was the wrong weekend for our top four rivals to proffer us gifts. Losses for Chelsea and Leicester have offered us a glimpse of ankle.

Once the breakthrough was made, Diogo Jota climbing from the bench to open the scoring, any lingering fears of football delivering another humourless joke quickly dissipated.

I don’t think we’ve ever been so utterly dominant in a game against Arsenal, to the extent that we were in this one. Certainly not in such an all-encompassing way, from beginning to end. I mean, we’ve had some pretty magical eyes of the storm against them over the years, but usually there will be a period of the game where they aim to bite back. This was different. It was largely a case of attack vs defence.

We now have options available to us.

Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak are both increasing in confidence, Fabinho is clearly delighted to be back in midfield, while Thiago is benefitting from this alteration. Jota’s return can’t be downplayed, and both Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah seem to be enjoying their football again.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 3, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker walks out before the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In turn, the bench looks healthier. It feels like there is a plan B up our sleeve. Added to this, that was an impressive moustache game from Alisson. Stick him in all black and we’ll be unbeatable once again.

Within a game of many sublime moments, the moment of the match was undeniably Trent’s reaction to the opening goal.

There was something delectably Liverpool about this victory, and it was rooted in the determination involved. Neither of Jota’s goals were the most aesthetically pleasing finishes, in terms of style, but there was a magnificent belligerence to them, while for Salah’s goal the finish was magical, but it was Trent’s interception and Mo’s insistence on muscling out Gabriel that warmed the soul.

We’ve set ourselves up nicely for Tuesday in Madrid, and for the chance of a double dose of ghost busting on Saturday when Aston Villa visit Anfield.

It’s still a case of taking one step at a time, but we’re doing more things right, than we are wrong now, and while any success will be tinged with a bit of an empty feeling in May, what we’re looking to do is to give ourselves the best chance possible to embrace next season, in the way we wanted to embrace the end of last season.

Up the Reds.

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