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Focus. Mental strength. Game management - Liverpool have shown they can win in a different way

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 21/04/2017 21:07:05 Neil Mellor

The results against West Brom and Stoke showed Liverpool can win in a different way.

We've shown we can blow teams away when we have our full strength team out in terms of our attacking quality and scoring a lot of goals, especially at home.

But away from home, it doesn't matter who you are, West Brom and Stoke are going to make it difficult for you. It's a tough place to go.

To get maximum points from those two away games shows there's a real mental strength and determination to achive that top four objective.

We'd love to have been in the title race but a top four finish would be a great achievement.

You can see the focus is there and I thought the application was superb at Stoke and West Brom.

A lot's been made this season of Liverpool struggling against the lesser sides and while West Brom haven't struggled, they are regarded as one of them.

The way Liverpool managed the game was very good - one big save from Mignolet apart, West Brom didn't create a lot to worry us.

You'd expect them to bombard our penalty area with crosses which they did but I thought we dealt with their threats really well and Mignolet's save was vitally important at an crucial time.

Can relishing physical battles

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I'm not sure Emre Can gets in Liverpool's strongest 11 but I thought he was superb at The Hawthorns.

I think he really relishes a physical battle like Stoke and West Brom.

He's played in different positions in the last two weeks too. Against Stoke he was deeper, the sitting midfielder and against West Brom he was further forward because Lucas was in the side. He's certainly benefitting from having a run in the side.

But Jordan Henderson is still an important player for us and if he's fit he's in our strongest eleven.

But you don't have to look at situations like that. Henderson's not fit, Can's come in and done extremely well.

Firmino combining work ethic and threat

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Roberto Firmino was another who was very impressive in that victory at The Hawthorns,

He led the line extremely well, his work ethic was brilliant, constantly putting the West Brom players under pressure, winning the ball back in good areas.

He looked a threat as well, getting the goal of course, but I thought he was the real creative influence our there.

He created a number of chances and I thought his contribution was outstanding.

Gomez will relish any first team opportunity

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We mustn't forget about the importance of the clean sheet against West Brom.

We haven't had enough of them and defensively we looked solid and that Lovren/Matip partnership looks like it's the main one.

Unfortunately it look like injury might disrupt that again this weekend against another team which likes to cross the ball into the area and you need your centre-halves to be big and strong and brave.

We need similar qualities to what we saw in the last two games with the threat of Benteke so it will be disappointing if Matip doesn't make it.

We've seen little bits of Joe Gomez this season when he's come in for cup games but it's been in much-changed teams.

It's much moire difficult for a player to come in in that situation.

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If he comes in with just one or two changes and he sees the other players who've been around like Wijnaldum, Firmino, Coutinho, Milner, I think having more first team regulars there it makes it easier for him and he would thrive on it.

I think he would step up to the plate and deliver I hope a decent display.

It takes time to get over an injury and he's had to be patient and get himself in the right physical condition.

But if this is opportunity he'll be absolutely buzzing for it.

This is what all the hard work was for.

Palace have a threat but we're a team in form too

Crystal Palace will be without their two first choice centre-backs at Anfield with Sakho unable to play against his parent club and Scott Dann out injured as he has been for a few weeks now.

That will be disruptive to them for this visit to Anfield

They do though have a threat going forward. They've scored in their last seven games, they've beaten Arsenal, beaten Chelsea and lost just one in seven - and this was a team which was in danger of relegation.

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Sam Allardyce has had a response there, it took a while, but it looks like they will be safe in the Premier League and perhaps they won't have ther worries and fears of a Hull or Swansea at the moment.

They have the pace of Zaha and Townsend out wide with the threat of Benteke up front so we have to be mindful of that.

But they'll be concerned about our attacking power, especially with their defensive changes in key positions.

And Liverpool are a team in form too.

Confidence will be high, we're unbeaten in seven and our home form has been excellent. We're a tough place to go.

In the fight for the top four, three home wins might be enough to secure it.

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21. huhtikuuta 2017 23:46:59 Categories: Liverpool Echo

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