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After months of deprivation, a small cohort of Liverpool fans finally got a chance to see their champions in person on Sunday night.
It was the first time fans within Anfield had witnessed a team win the Reds title since 1991, but it was worth the wait.
Conscious of making up for lost time, the Premier League champions put on a show for the 2,000 attendees and headed for a 4-0 win over Wolves. It wasn’t just the result that was impressive, the overall performance was irresistible too.
Mohamed Salah got the party going in 24 minutes, as he has done so many times before. Holding on to a mistake from the Reds’ childhood support, Conor Coady, Salah didn’t make a mistake with the ending. It was this kind of ruthless attitude that would characterize the Reds’ display.
Andy Robertson and Salah teamed up to tear Nelson Semedo to shreds during the proceedings, while Liverpool’s midfielder also sealed his authority in the proceedings. Curtis Jones impressed again, showing great intelligence to fill gaps defensively and choosing his moments to attack. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum operated with authority.
Shortly after Salah’s first game, the Reds survived a penalty scare, thanks to VAR intervention, and went 1-0 up at halftime. They came out for the second half with renewed determination with Georginio Wijnaldum scoring his first goal of the season.
What a blow it was too.
With a few clever passes, Liverpool turned defense into attack and this fluid counterattack was finally finished by Wijnaldum, who launched a precise shot into the upper corner. A third goal came shortly after. This time, Joel Matip was the hero, nodding the Salah cross and celebrating exactly as a man who hasn’t scored in over a year should.
These three goals should have been enough to worry the Reds’ title rivals, and if they weren’t, goal number four certainly was. This involved Trent Alexander-Arnold. Remember it? The best right-back on the planet made a very welcome return to the team, throwing a cross into the uncertainty corridor that Nelson Semedo turned into his own net.
Alexander-Arnold was also not the only absentee who returned. Near Keita also continued his rehab with a brief cameo, providing a much-needed boost to Jurgen Klopp’s injury-depleted squad.
Liverpool’s dominant victory comes at a time when predictions of a close race for the Premier League title are beginning to be expressed with a little more force. Tottenham’s easy North London derby win over Arsenal and Chelsea’s win over old rivals Leeds this weekend seriously strengthened both teams’ credentials. Meanwhile, Leicester City, Manchester United and Manchester City remain particularly brilliant at times and pitiful at others, but neither of them can be completely ruled out – yet.
Make no mistake though, the Klopp champions are still the best team in the country and their win over the Wolves, which extended their unbeaten home run in the league to 65 games, proved it.
As a new banner at Anfield aptly put it, the Reds are “back in place” and it will take something on the side to bring them down this season.