A double from Adam Lallana sandwiched a strike from Divock Origi as Liverpool got back to winning ways at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday night after a run of disappointing results put the brakes on the Reds title charge. Although the Anfield outfit dominated proceedings in both the loss to AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United, some dodgy defending and bit of bad luck saw them weave when they should have bobbed, but they were able to get their game back on point in what was an emphatic win over newly promoted Middlesbrough.
“It was not too far off the complete performance – but the manager has already quickly said to us that there are things we can improve on,” said Lallana, who picked up the Man of the Match award. “At times we can maybe get a little bit carried away and all of us maybe want to attack at times when we need to protect a bit more,” explained the Englishman, hinting at their problems when forced on the back-foot. “Of course, that’s a good sign. But at times, if you get too carried away, they can counter you and at times they did in the first half. But in the second half, I thought it was a lot better and we started very well. We could have got the goals earlier but we were patient and didn’t let that faze us. In the end, I think 3-0 was a fair result.”
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
Keeping numbers behind the ball and staying cautious when pushing forward, ‘Boro kept their visitors relatively quiet until the Englishman’s bullet header from Nathaniel Clyne’s cross broke the deadlock around the half-hour mark. Origi claimed his fifth goal in as many games to double up before Lallana effectively ended this one as a contest with a composed finish as the second half petered out. Scoring eight goals in their last three outings, the Reds aren’t exactly starved for output in front of the net, but it was the same against West Ham United as it was against Middlesbrough in that they could have scored more — and, if they had a certain Brazilian in the squad, they just might have done just that.
“Any team is going to miss Philippe – he is one of the best players in the world. He is working hard at Melwood to get back as soon as he can to help the team,” said Lallana with the 24-year old targeting the News Years Eve clash with Manchester City to return from an ankle injury. “The manager wants fluidity throughout the team. When you’ve got [Sadio] Mane and [Georginio] Wijnaldum making selfless runs… Firmino, Divock, [Jordan] Henderson and myself – it is very fluid,” continued the Liverpool attacker. “We’re still learning and we’re learning to play without Philippe. But the sooner we can have him back, the better.”