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Angry Anfield answers Klopp’s call – 5 talking points from Liverpool 4-1 Luton

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An injury-ravaged Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League as they came from behind to beat Luton 4-1 at Anfield.

Liverpool 4-1 Luton

Premier League (26), Anfield
February 21, 2024

Goals: Van Dijk 56′, Gakpo 58′, Diaz 71′, Elliott 90


Angry Anfield answers Klopp’s call

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool supporters during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking ahead of what he clearly knew would be a tough evening against Luton, Jurgen Klopp said: “We need Anfield, 100 percent. It has to be a European night in England.”

And, as is so often the case, Liverpool’s home crowd delivered in creating the conditions for their team to show the best of themselves against all odds here.

The fans could have been forgiven for struggling to find their voices, thanks to the anxiety induced by a first half featuring an opening goal from Luton and several missed Liverpool chances.

But, helped on by a couple of those contentious decisions that always seem to turn the volume up at Anfield, they played a key role in a patched-up side eventually running out convincing winners.

 

Bradley continues to exceed expectations

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley celebrates his side's second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Though an impressive pre-season ensured Liverpool fans believed he had a chance of first-team involvement, few would have expected Conor Bradley to offer anything more than a solid, traditional take on the role of right-back in support of Trent Alexander-Arnold this season.

But, what we have in fact seen is evidence that the Reds have plucked another potentially world-class option in that position directly from their academy.

In another great display, the Northern Irishman won seven of 10 duels, three of three tackles, created three chances and had a shot at goal – remarkably impressive numbers for any full-back.

It was that he showed that Alexander-Arnold-like quality of both dominating Liverpool’s build-up and driving through midfield, before teeing up the second goal with a throw-in-taken-quickly – sound familiar?

No wonder Bradley was withdrawn early with one eye on Sunday’s Carabao Cup final; at the moment, he is in first-name-on-the-teamsheet territory.

 

Attacking injuries still a concern

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Although he will have loved every second of Liverpool’s second-half performance, Klopp will no doubt be desperate to hear good news on injuries to Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez in the coming days.

At Brentford, the Reds lost forwards who have scored 46 goals in all competitions so far this season, and looked like it as they missed chance after chance in the first half of this game.

Luis Diaz, Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakpo deserve huge credit for stepping up in the second period, each man eventually getting on the scoresheet in a comfortable victory.

But there is no doubt that Klopp’s side will find it easier to win games with more natural goal threats on the pitch, and so the hope will be that Salah and Nunez can return to face Chelsea.

 

Gravenberch backs up Brentford showing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, November 30, 2023: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 5 game between Liverpool FC and LASK at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After producing one of his most encouraging Liverpool performances yet as Brentford were beaten on Saturday, all eyes were on Ryan Gravenberch to see if the inconsistency that has marred his early Anfield career would return.

But the Dutchman showed no such fallibility, backing up his weekend effort in producing another rounded showing that Klopp will have loved.

As arguably the Reds’ best presser on the night, he won eight of his 13 duels and posted 10 defensive actions to keep things solid in the middle.

Gravenberch also backed that up by completing 84 percent of his passes and creating two chances to extend his recent fine run of form ahead of another big test at Wembley.

 

Van Dijk provides captain’s goal

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As good as Liverpool were in the second half here, the importance of levelling things up early cannot be understated.

And, with the forwards continuing to struggle to find the finish in the absence of key men, it was time for the captain Virgil van Dijk to step up.

As well as generally being the best defender in the world, the 32-year-old has made a habit of scoring game-breaking goals down the years for Liverpool.

This was another case of him stepping up exactly when his team needed him – just as a captain should.