For all our dominance in attack (we made 22 key passes to Augsburg’s 8) we only managed one goal from a dubious penalty decision in the 4th minute and we rode our luck a couple of times to somehow keep a cleansheet at the end. But a win is a win and the squad must be in pretty good spirit going into the League Cup Final on Sunday.
Possibly more significant than going through to the next round of the Europa League though, is the fact that our front three of P Coutinho, D Sturridge and R Firmino have had another chance to play together to improve their cohesion and all of them avoided injury against Augsburg. The potential is there for all to see. If we had been sharper in front of goal we would have won by a much wider margin. Our link-up play in attack was pretty sexy at times. The 38th minute one-two between E Can and Coutinho was brilliant and Sturridge also did well to get off a quick snapshot when the ball came in to him. As J Klopp said, hopefully we are saving the goals for Citeh on Sunday.
I know Coutinho had a good game (He had the most number of key passes in the game with 7, 4 more than Firmino who was second in the table.) but who really impressed me was Lucas L playing at centerback (again), besides the unfortunate backpass in the 34th minute which almost resulted in a goal for Augsburg. He was both a rock in defense and an initiator of many of our attacks. He topped the table for clearances and interceptions with 9 and 4 respectively, came in second for successful tackles with 4, and made 56 accurate passes, 4 more than J Henderson who was second in the table. Seriously would it be possible for Lucas to adapt and grow to become our first-choice centerback? I know he is short for the positon (At only 1.79m) but he is a leader and an organiser. Two things we are sorely lacking in defense at the moment. Unfortunately it seems K Toure is going to start in the League Cup Final against Citeh. I bet Kolo never ever thought that he was going to start in a final when he signed for us on a free transfer from Citeh three years back!
Lastly, if i am C Benteke i would definitely be telling my agent to look for a club as soon as possible. The truth is Benteke is our third choice striker behind Sturridge and D Origi respectively. And this is not even counting Firmino who is a different kind of striker. Origi came on at the 66th minute and did very well. Not only was he strong holding off defenders to keep possesion, he also worked the channels very well. At the 77th minute he ran off the shoulder of the last defender and was almost through on goal from Can’s slide-rule pass. Then 7 minutes later he showed firstly good strength to hold off the defender and then good technique to create a little space for himself on the edge of the penalty box to get off a long shot. Let’s not exaggerate but i think Origi is going to become one of the best strikers in the history of mankind. Period.
Hello, it’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet to go over everything. (Citeh)