Continuing their impressive start to the season, Liverpool made easy work of Hull City by beating the newly promoted side 5-1 at Anfield on Saturday.
Two James Milner penalties were added to by Adam Lallana, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, while David Meyler could only provide a consolation after teammate Ahmed Elmohamady was sent off.
Blistering start crucial to Liverpool’s title charge
Quick starts and early goals were a pivotal part of the last Liverpool team to mount a serious league title challenge and will be vital if this outfit are to beat smaller teams more regularly. Back under Brendan Rodgers during the 2013-14 season, the Reds were often fast out of the blocks and put games to bed early on.
Under Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool set their stall out early. Hull were beaten with 10 minutes still left in the first half as the home side pressed from the outset. Scoring after just 17 minutes allowed Klopp’s men the freedom to express themselves and took the pressure off them in what could have been a tricky encounter. More quick starts will be the order of the day for Liverpool to give them the best chance of continuing their rich vein of form.
Lallana on song again
It is telling that in a team with forwards such as Firmino and Coutinho, it is Adam Lallana’s name which was chanted the most and the loudest during the Hull match. Liverpool fans appreciate the former Southampton man’s work rate off the ball, as well as his quality on it. He is certainly a fan favourite in the making.
Lallana is also a manager’s dream. He is determined to succeed, open to new ideas as well as having belief in his own ability. The latter has been questioned in the past given his below-par performances since joining the Reds in 2014, but Lallana is proving why he was worth the huge $50 million transfer fee Liverpool paid for him. With his goal against Hull, the Englishman has now scored four goals in his past eight league appearances, as many as in his previous 42 in the Premier League. After recording his first international goal earlier in the month and impressing for the Reds in the league this season, he is in the form of his life. Lallana is fast becoming a key man for both club and country.
A rule that needs changing
They say that lightening does not strike twice, but for Hull fans this match must have seemed so. Last weekend Jake Livermore was sent off for a handball as Francis Coquelin’s goal-bound effort hit his hand. Just seven days later, in an almost carbon copy effort, a Sadio Mane strike hit the hand of Elmohamady on the goal line.
On both occasions Hull were down to 10 men before half-time. There is no doubt that in each case the referee correctly gave a spot kick, but to send a player off for a handball which was clearly not deliberate is clearly over the top and harsh. In the two games the Tigers would have most probably still lost, but in a closer match it would have made all the difference. With FIFA looking into rules, notably changing the kickoff routine at the start of the season, football’s governing body should look at this grey area and lessen the punishment in order not ruin more matches.