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Fast starts aiding Reds

Devastating pace on the counter attack

Daniel Thomas

Since the highly controversial 2-2 draw with Jon Moss, I mean Tottenham Hotspurs on the 4th of February, Liverpool have won all but one home game.

Only Porto have left Anfield with a result in that time, against a second string Reds team that had an eye firmly on the game the following weekend and already 5-0 up on aggregate. Our home form is in fact sparkling – the Bournemouth game marked 365 days unbeaten in front of the Kop.

There are a number of factors to us becoming more ruthless and cutting out the frustrating draws. The arrival of Virgil van Dijk, the resurrection of Loris Karius’ career and the subsequent lack of chances we give away as a consequence are both very prevalent. If you keep clean sheets, the number of goals we score will always lead to more positive results. In my view there’s an additional factor at play here too – we have started to score a lot of early goals.

Starting games quickly is something that Klopp clearly wants us to do and it reaps massive rewards if you get yourself in front early. The game on Saturday against Bournemouth was cruise control once we took the lead. It took us a while to add a second but from the moment we took the lead, we never looked likely to relinquish it. Without the plethora of extra goals, the Bournemouth game followed a similar pattern to the Watford game. We scored early, took a while longer to land the decisive blown than we should but won the game with consummate ease.

Fansbet are offering 5/9 for the Reds to beat the Baggies on Saturday lunchtime 

Going further back to The Jon Moss Show (the 2-2 draw with Spurs) we took a second minute lead in that match and only conceded to a once in a lifetime goal from resident non-entity Victor Wanyama before a chaotic last ten minutes. The week after, we swept into a sixth minute lead at Southampton.

We also did the exact same in the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City when we were actually on the back foot and under a lot of pressure initially. However, we broke away and scored an early goal which gave us a platform to absolutely dominate the first half and effectively win the tie.

With our devastating pace on the counter-attack, falling behind early gives opposition managers a real headache. They can’t over commit because doing so would lead to a real vulnerability of us going down the other end and making a bad situation far worse. But if they don’t have a go at us to try and get back into the game, we are defending well enough currently to see off most threats. The last time we even conceded at Anfield was on the 24th February in a 4-1 win over West Ham. The game was long put to bed before then and the goal was just an irritating blot on our copybook. And that’s just David Moyes in general really.

There are plenty of games where it takes us a while to get going, we were sluggish against Newcastle United at Anfield for example and it took forty minutes for the Egyptian King to set us on our way. We fell behind at Crystal Palace in a relatively awful performance before coming back in the second half.

But we have made a good habit of scoring goals in the early stages of games in the last two months. Doing so makes everything so much easier. It settles an increasingly trusting crowd down, it gives the team a lift and of course it gives the opposition nightmares about what to do next.

We’re already a nightmare team to play against.

As the season draws to a close, get the latest Premier League odds here

By Daniel Thomas – follow Daniel on Twitter @TLW1Dan

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