In the end, it was a stroll for Jurgen Klopp’s men as they ran out 5-1 winners against Hull City at Anfield. Before the game, there were apprehensions about the home side’s ability to maintain their focus. The display, though, confirmed that this Reds side are not to be taken lightly this season.
With 4 different goal scorers, Liverpool routed the Tigers 5-1. Milner was on hand to tuck away two penalties, while Coutinho, Mane, and Lallana also got their names on the score-sheet.
Hull were already a goal down, when they went down to 10 men, after Elmohamady was sent off for a handball. For a second week running, Hull went down to 10 men before half-time.
David Meyler pulled a goal back, only for Coutinho to strike within the minute to restore Liverpool’s three-goal advantage.
Here are the five talking points from the game:
#1 Underrated Milner hogs the show
Liverpool’s attacking trio of Coutinho, Mane and Firminho may have been the reason for causing havoc among the Tiger’s defence, but it was the defensive solidarity which allowed Liverpool to maintain control throughout the game.
Milner, started at left-back this season, in order to balance out the squad. One of the most versatile players to have in any squad, Milner’s versatility has often been detrimental to his career as coaches have tended to slot him wherever the team needs him. As a result, Milner has never been a specialist of any position.
Milner’s new role as a left back illustrates the commitment levels of a player who is still willing to adapt and contribute to the cause of the team. His close control in the match to get past defenders on his flank and his two goals ensured a good victory for the Merseyside club.
The only blot on a barnstorming display was the yellow card which he picked up for a foul on Robert Snodgrass.
#2 Tigers need to tighten up
Mike Phelan’s role in the club has been up in the air since the start of the season. Phelan has done well, with a squad which was in disarray before the start of the season.
Fire-fighting exercise aside, Phelan has got the players playing for the club with all their heart and soul irrespective of the controversies behind the scenes. Club captain Curtis Davies has been one of the top performers this season and irrespective of the scoreline, Hull are always well organised defensively.
Hull City was prepared tactically but the Liverpool players were quicker and clever in their movement which made the difference on the pitch.
Resolving Phelan’s contract situation will go a long way in improving the environment at the club. A fine start has been now disrupted with consecutive defeats against Arsenal and Liverpool in the league.
#3 Liverpool’s pressing game overwhelms Hull City
Liverpool had an extra day of preparation given their last game was on Friday. The Reds may have played a mid-week tie but most of the players seemed to be on the go from the first whistle.
Liverpool wer undoubtedly more energetic and more aggressive and harrowed the Hull players into committing mistakes.
Adam Lallana continued his fine form, as Coutinho’s ball left the Hull defence for dead and provided an assist which Lallana did well to dig out from under his feet to scuff the shot into the left-hand bottom corner of David Marshall, the Hull keeper. The work rate of this squad is fast becoming a feature. Another quality that was on notice was the timing of the runs.
Liverpool may have got the extra man advantage early in the game but instead shooting wildly, Liverpool were patient and looked to play with precision.
Mane’s powerful runs coupled with Firminho’s silky touches were also a feature of the game, in which Coutinho smacked in a belter.
#4 Hull City will look to regroup after the international break
Hull City face Chelsea next weekend, given their display against Liverpool and Arsenal and the unavailability of first choice defenders, one wouldn’t bet against Chelsea going to the KC stadium and getting a result against them.
However, after the international break, Hull City has a winnable set of fixtures. Phelan has done extremely well to pick up seven points from the first 6 games. But, if Hull City are to continue to stay in the Premier League, then fixtures against Bournemouth, Stoke, Watford and Sunderland will have to be targeted over the next month.
The international break will also give a chance to the Hull side to recuperate. In the match, Hull at times, did do a good job of stifling the attacking threat of Liverpool but the sending off of Elmohamady meant that they had to shut shop and not concede anymore.
#5 Lallana reaping the rewards of consistency
Adam Lallana has been at Anfield since the summer of 2014, but after a patchy couple of seasons, Liverpool is finally seeing the player for whom they forked out a cool £25 million. Since the start of the season, Lallana has been Liverpool’s most consistent attacker.
The former Southampton player’s ability to shoot with either foot has helped create more chances as well as keep the defenders guessing.
His on-the-move goal on the opening weekend was overshadowed by Mane’s performance and, the sweet rasping shot against Leicester that fizzed into the right-hand side of the goal was another example of the Englishman’s ability.
Hull City was the latest victim as Lallana troubled them tirelessly and started off the scoring frenzy. The standing ovation he received when he was being replaced was a testament to how quickly his stock has grown among the Anfield faithful.