Liverpool’s two attacking midfielders continued their rich vein of form with goals for their national sides.
The story of Liverpool’s attack this season has mostly been either all about the front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah and their collective attacking verve. Or, it’s been about the absolute industry and magic of the young fullback corps of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson.
In fact, Liverpool’s triumphant win over Manchester City over the weekend featured a phenomenal example of those two units combining for a rather gorgeous goal. For Liverpool’s second of the match, the attacking move only took two passes: a Gerrard-esque, cross-field ball from TAA to Robbo, who then crossed an impossibly beautiful pass that bounced right up to an in-stride Salah. The Prince of Egypt still had quite a bit to do in terms of picking a good spot, but the striker did not misfire. It was a goal worth re-watching and a perfect encapsulation of Liverpool’s current attacking set up.
Fans, then, have noticed that this season, Liverpool’s midfield have missed a bit of that attacking class. Now, there’s talent in the side to be sure, but the options that have generally been available for Jurgen Klopp are less the typical out-and-out attackers/playmakers one would consider as obvious attacking options; Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho, and even James Milner all have varied skillsets but are more in the mold of industrious controllers.
That attacking thrust was missing, perhaps, because the players most likely to provide it have been recuperating from long-term injuries. Thankfully, both of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita seem to be well on the mend. In fact, hot on the heels of strong performances from both midfielders against Genk in the Champions League and, in the case of AOC, with cameos in the Premier League, come reports that both contributed goals to their national teams today.
In a match that would also end up featuring TAA and Joe Gomez, AOC helped to ensure that England would sew up qualification for next year’s Euros by opening up the scoring in a lopsided affair against Montenegro. The Admiral, meanwhile, helped Guinea to take a point from their match-up against Mali in their quest to qualify for the African Cup of Nations.
The continued success of both AOC and The Admiral bodes well for Liverpool as having them both available and in-form provides Liverpool with that attacking bite and creativity in the midfield that simply has been missing for the better part of a season. Here’s hoping both players manage to come back healthy and in good spirits.