Opinion: Liverpool's rejuvenated spine working wonders

Another big European night awaits for all associated with Liverpool Football Club after they reached the Europa League final after a victory over Villarreal on Thursday night.

Opinion: Liverpool's rejuvenated spine working wonders
(Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool’s allocation of 10,000 tickets for the Europa League final will not stop the capacity of Anfield making the journey to Switzerland simply to cheer their team on from the pubs of Basel.

The spine of a team is a much-talked about priority. When it comes to the Reds, the fans are arguably the most important part of that spine.

Jürgen Klopp is now just 90 minutes away from his first taste of silverware as Liverpool manager, and Champions League football, after his side marched beyond the efforts of Villarreal with the support of an electric Kop atmosphere.

Spain’s yellow submarine well and truly sank at the hands of a ferocious Liverpool crowd and an inspired performance by the players to overturn their demoralising 1-0 defeat in the first leg.

The renditions of famous Liverpool chants combined with the use of flares and banners were enough to quash the presence of the Villarreal bus upon arrival.

Red shirts swarmed the streets prior to kick off to greet their heroes and shun their opponents in a fashion that reflected the unity and passion Klopp had been promised before taking on the job.

Thousands will descend upon Switzerland to support the Reds. (Picture: Getty Images)
Thousands will descend upon Switzerland to support the Reds. (Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool’s scintillating performance from start to finish meant the mental worries over their one goal deficit quickly became non-existent.

Discussing the rejuvenation of Anfield and its return to being a fortress is becoming a common theme.

The win on Thursday went some way towards rediscovering the identity of this great club.

Key players…

The return of Daniel Sturridge to the line-up was vital.

His role on the night perhaps exposed Klopp’s decision to leave him out of the first leg as his first major mistake as Liverpool manager.

His involvement in all three goals posed as a timely reminder of how important his ability is to the side but it was his celebration after putting Liverpool two up that caught the eye.

There was no dancing and no efforts to play it cool, it was pure emotion and maybe even relief. For a moment, there was a connection between himself and the crowd for all to see. A happy Daniel Sturridge means a dangerous Daniel Sturridge.

His work ethic, in addition to his quality on the ball, was commendable and a sign of him integrating into life under Klopp after doubts over his future had been lingering.

Sturridge not only brought the best out of the three attacking midfielders behind him but he topped off what was a solid spine on the night.

Liverpool were at their best on Thursday night in order to reach the final. (Picture: Getty Images)
Liverpool were at their best on Thursday night in order to reach the final. (Picture: Getty Images)

Emre Can’s return to the line-up after injury made a huge difference to proceedings.

His defensive instincts were crucial to stopping Villarreal from building any kind of momentum and helped portray them as the overrated team they are.

There was a grace and maturity about his game that helped orchestrate an arrogant and fearless team display. He played as a man who knew his importance to the side.

James Milner’s frantic movements across the pitch, whether it be him pressing or getting involved in attacks, complemented Can’s steady nature.

He fulfilled his role as captain and played a crucial role in leading the high pressing and accommodating different sides of the pitch to help draw Villarreal out of position.

Just behind him, Dejan Lovren impressed yet again. His improvement since the New Year does not need to be highlighted anymore. It is about him moving forward now and showcasing some consistency to the extent that fans no longer have him as a concern in the back of their minds.

The interchanges of play between Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino were able to happen in different areas of the pitch because of the solidity provided by the spine of the team.

Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno benefited in the same way. Both fullbacks were given the freedom to occupy attacking areas with the knowledge that they will have options to look for, while also not having to worry about who is covering them behind.

Liverpool ran all over their opponents and made it look straight forward.

Finalists Sevilla will be an extremely tough test for Liverpool as they look to win the Europa League for a third consecutive year.

With Liverpool in this mood, though, there is no reason for them to be intimidated by their Spanish opponents.

Game on.