The match had been previewed as being one of the biggest of the season for Liverpool.
Was it a match against Everton or Manchester United? No, it was a match against Hull, so why the big deal? Well, Liverpool have started the season brightly, other than one slip-up, which came at Burnley. Many fans and pundits were discussing how Liverpool raise their game when playing the big boys but struggle to break down the so-called ‘smaller clubs’.
However, the emphatic display against Hull on Saturday afternoon will go some way to ending that discussion for now, as Liverpool romped away with a comfortable 5-1 victory at Anfield.
The sending off of Hull’s Ahmed Elmohamady on 29 minutes certainly helped the cause and four of Liverpool’s goals came when Hull were down to ten men. That being said, Liverpool were already in control of the game, having taken the lead through Adam Lallana, after good work from Philippe Coutinho.
With Elmohamady off the pitch, James Milner converted the resulting penalty and being 2-0 up, Liverpool could easily have taken their foot off the gas, with the points seemingly in the bag. Not this Liverpool team, who were aggressive and energetic from the first whistle and this did not stop, despite the two-goal and one-man advantage. Further goals came from Sadio Mane, a cracking long range effort from Coutinho and another Milner penalty. In truth, Liverpool could have scored more and there were a couple of close-range chances which went to waste, Giorginio Wijnaldum being the main culprit. That being said, it was an afternoon full of positives for Liverpool and manager, Jurgen Klopp.
Lallana was perhaps the pick of the players, putting in a polished performance, full of movement and creativity. The England international created two goals and scored one himself, which put Liverpool in the driving seat. Klopp has clearly got the players buying into and understanding the way he wants to play and it was perhaps the best display of counter-pressing Liverpool have produced in his time as manager. Hull, especially in the first half, did not have a second to relax on the ball and therefore, failed to get into any sort of rhythm. Liverpool turned the ball over in Hull’s half of the pitch on numerous occasions and it really was a joy to watch.
The only downside came when conceding a goal in the second half, from a corner, something which Klopp is sure to look at in training. In this match, it did not matter and the response from Coutinho was superb but in a game when the result is tight, the marking and clearing of the ball, has to be better. It meant Liverpool are yet to keep a clean sheet this season in the Premier League and is something the manager will want to address. However, it was a decent game for Loris Karius to make his league debut and due to the way Liverpool played, the dropping of Simon Mignolet has gone under the radar somewhat, which is good for Klopp.
You have to go back to Spring 2014, to find the last time there was optimism of the same level around Anfield. Can Liverpool defeat the big boys in the Premier League? Yes. Can Liverpool defeat the teams who are happy to sit back and defend? Yes. Can Liverpool win the Premier League? Why not?