Looking over the Boxing Day fixture, there was plenty to talk about.
Does Jota go straight into the team, for you?
Tom: Diogo has to go straight back into the side, for me.
Sam: Personally, yes. While he isn’t the complete player – Gakpo is arguably better at linking play – Jota doesn’t mess about in front of goal.
He might not score every chance, but you know confidence isn’t an issue there. With the Reds pressing well too, at the moment, Liverpool will have plenty of chances when they win the ball high up the pitch.
Would you call it a good performance from Liverpool?
Tom: Yes, I think it was a good performance. It was a bit nervy towards the end, but it would’ve been a different story had we actually been awarded the Harvey Elliott and Gakpo goals that, in my opinion, should have stood.
Sam: It was assured come full-time. I’m sure Klopp would have preferred to go 3-0 up and make changes, but the squad is already thin and Liverpool did a good job in the circumstances.
As Tom said, at least one of Liverpool’s disallowed goals should have stood, so the fact we were only 1-0 up until the 90th minute is a bit of a red herring in this instance.
Is Endo staking a claim to permanently be the No. 6?
Sam: He will feel like he is, and rightly so.
It is great to see a professional come in, work hard and be rewarded for it. However, I do feel like he is almost playing at his ceiling.
He is a great player to have around but is limited in terms of his physicality and speed running back towards goal – this isn’t a slight on him, just his reality.
That said, if he were to get a run of games with Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai helping him, that’s a very strong midfield in theory.
I love how he plays on the ball. He just seems to be aware of what’s going on around him and knows how to open the game up with his first touch, in a similar way to Stefan Bajcetic but maybe not quite to his level.
Tom: I certainly have no issues with seeing Endo on the team sheet.
I thought he enjoyed a good game on Boxing Day and was key in the build up to the Jota goal. I think, with the absence of Alexis Mac Allister, he absolutely should be considered the starting No. 6.
Can we deem December a successful month?
Tom: I have no issues with anyone calling it a success, as we only lost the one Europa league game which was meaningless.
Sam: Successful is maybe a step too far, given the home draws against Arsenal and Man United. Had we beat either of those, like Tom said, we would be feeling far more confident and be clear at the top of the Premier League.
Satisfactory is probably a better word, though that might sound slightly harsh as we also reached the League Cup semi-finals!
Looking back at the end of the season, we’ll either deem December a month we consolidated our defence, or one in which we missed an opportunity because of our forwards’ form.