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Lallana pulls the strings as Liverpool pull Boro apart in style

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 305

Pin HD Adam Lallana Liverpool celebrate
HD Adam Lallana Liverpool celebrate

Lallana pulls the strings as Liverpool pull Boro apart in style

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 305

The England international was exemplary in a complete display that illustrated why he is so valued by Jurgen Klopp and so vital for the Reds.

The match build-up had been dominated by the goalkeeper discussion, but Liverpool’s attackers were the headliners at the Riverside Stadium. 

They turned up the terror and turned out Middlesbrough’s lights with incisive, electrifying play in a 3-0 victory on Wednesday night. 

It was a most welcome dismantling of the hosts, amid a backdrop of too much talk and too much distraction, with Jurgen Klopp deciding to remove Loris Karius from the relentless, unforgiving torrent of criticism. 

Simon Mignolet was back between the sticks to fuel the conversation further, but the Reds offered up more positive talking points against Aitor Karanka’s men.

Liverpool have not been short of goals, but since the last international break, they had struggled to properly command and cut apart opponents. 

Klopp complained of systematic issues and the balance being off, but that was not the case here. 

With Sadio Mane the creator supreme, Roberto Firmino going again and again, Divock Origi menacing and Adam Lallana absolutely luminary, they had their dazzle back with those behind ensuring the artists had the platform for a masterclass. 

There would be no dropped points following the 4-3 disintegration at Bournemouth and Sunday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham.

As was the case against Slaven Bilic’s charges, it was Lallana who affected the scoreline first. Mane supplied Nathaniel Clyne, who delivered a brilliant cross for the 28-year-old to head in at the back post.

It was his fifth league goal of the season, matching his haul for the entirety of 2015-16, and it also marked Liverpool’s half-century in just 20 games.

Immediately afterwards, Mignolet made a sharp intervention to deny Viktor Fischer, with the Belgian applying himself well in his first top-flight start since the 2-1 victory at Chelsea on September 16. 

He had earlier comfortably saved Ben Gibson’s header from a free-kick as well as Fabio’s punt from range. 

The visitors were inches away from a second goal just before the break as Origi's ball sent Mane speeding into the area, but the Senegal international’s effort across Victor Valdes came back off the base of the post. The rebound fell to Origi, but he could only direct it into the side netting.

The half ended strongly for Liverpool, but it had started with Klopp annoyed at his side’s wastefulness in possession. He furiously instructed them to play short and calm, not rushed and forced to combat Boro’s organisation. 

The Reds naturally had more of the ball in the first half, but the hosts did look to maximise their time in possession, matching their counterparts for attempts on goal. 

The second 45 began with Mane drawing two blocks from the home defence, before Firmino steered a header wide. There were shouts for a penalty with an effort from Liverpool’s £30 million winger hitting the arm of Calum Chambers, but it was waved away.

Liverpool then delivered a snapshot of their pre-international break attacking blur, when Mane, Gini Wijnaldum and Firmino combined before Lallana placed the ball perfectly into the path of Origi. 

The 21-year-old beat Valdes to make it five in five, before then setting up the England international for his second of the night. 

Mane, again involved, drove forward with the ball breaking to Origi. The forward crossed from the right to the back post, where Lallana’s left foot did the rest. 

Liverpool were providing a timely reminder of just how ruthless they could be on the front foot and the travelling support lapped it up. 

They had, as per one of their manager’s main tenets, struck back. And in quite some style too. 

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