Sunday, May 21, 2017 3:00 PM
Anfield Road, Central, Liverpool, L4 OTH, United Kingdom
Homeground of Liverpool
Event DescriptionThe Liverpool match against Middlesboro looks likely to be an interesting one. Liverpool are riding high and start the game as clear favourites. However, we all know about the squad's tendency to shoot themselves in the foot from time to time. Newsboys, Middlesbrough are not arriving at Anfield to roll over and lose. They can be difficult to break down, as Manchester City will testify.
The game that sums up Liverpool's approach this season under Klopp has to be the 6-1 dismantling of Watford. Can we compare this squad with the 2013 side? Three years ago Liverpool's climb to the higher echelons of the Premiership was powered mainly be Suarez and Sturridge. This was a Liverpool team that relied heavily on its two superstars. The team today is steeped in Klopp's trademark of 'powerhouse' football. They work together and wear down the opposition with blatant attrition. Take any one player out, and he can be replaced. This was not the scenario in 2013 when the departure of Suarez was a knife through the heart. Liverpool are on fire and Klopp is such a likeable fellow that you want him to be successful.
For Middlesbrough, any points taken home from Anfield will be a bonus. In today's modern game, under fire manager Aitor Karanka knows the realities of life at the top of the pyramid. Games with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool are usually ones that are lost. The real battles come at Stoke, Swansea, and Sunderland. The Premiership is becoming more and more a league of two halves, but let's not write off Middlesbrough just yet because the squad can play a bit.
If you are going to build a team that's hard to beat, then you start with the goalkeeper. Valdes is 34, but that's 'just a pup' for your average top stopper. He has all the credentials of class and his Barcelona days will have given him the confidence to feel relaxed entering the sacred stadium of Anfield. If Valdes is on form, then it could well be more difficult for Liverpool than a lot of experts think. Marten De Roon was the hero against Manchester City, but here is the problem. Middlesbrough have a tight defence but not enough firepower upfront. Whether the defensive prowess will be enough against a team that is scoring for fun, is what make this game tantalising.
It is likely that Middlesbrough will need more than a hero to get something out of this game; they will need a miracle. But miracles are what make football such an enjoyable sport, so you never know.