Injury-Hit Liverpool Produce ‘Fireworks’ To Blow Away Luton

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BY AFP

Jurgen Klopp said his injury-ravaged Liverpool produced “fireworks” to come from a goal down to beat Luton 4-1 and open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Wednesday.

Chiedozie Ogbene had given the Hatters a shock first-half lead against a Liverpool side missing Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota among others.

Dutch international duo Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo turned the game on its head in two minutes just before the hour mark before Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott secured the win.

Victory takes Klopp’s men four points clear of Manchester City and five ahead of third-placed Arsenal, but having played a game more than both their title rivals.

“How the stadium and team together changed that game is exceptional,” said Klopp.

“We just have to be calmer in the decisive moments Once we became calmer there were fireworks. My word they were fantastic goals. It is a fantastic night.”

Liverpool’s squad was already stretched by injuries prior to loss of Curtis Jones, Jota and Nunez in the first-half of Saturday’s 4-1 win at Brentford.

Salah scored on his return from a hamstring injury at the weekend, but was forced on as a substitute earlier than planned and suffered a setback that kept him out.

Klopp was already without Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara due to injury and the Reds were forced to work harder for the three points than they would have wished just days before Sunday’s League Cup final against Chelsea.

However, Salah and Nunez could be fit in time to feature at Wembley.

“We have to see, but I said it before the game as long as we have 11 players we will go for it,” added Klopp.

Luton held Liverpool 1-1 when the sides met at Kenilworth Road in November and have made a habit of ruffling the feathers of the Premier League’s elite on their return to the top flight.

However, the visitors barely posed a threat other than when they went in front on 12 minutes.

Tahith Chong burst into the Liverpool box and when his powerful shot was parried by the legs of Caoimhin Kelleher, Ogbene headed in at the far post.

All of Liverpool’s chances before the break fell to Diaz, but the Colombian was wasteful with his six shots on goal.

-A big One

Klopp was whipping up the Anfield crowd at every opportunity and his side finally opened the floodgates on 56 minutes.
Captain Van Dijk led by example as he shrugged off his marker to power in Alexis Mac Allister’s corner.

“The reaction shown today was outstanding and something we need for the rest of the season,” said Van Dijk. “Today was a big one!”

Mac Allister was the creator again seconds later as Luton again switched off from a dead ball.

Conor Bradley’s throw-in picked out the Argentine midfielder and his volleyed cross was headed in by Gakpo.

Only some heroics from Thomas Kaminski denied Gakpo and Van Dijk their second goals of the night as Liverpool continued to surge forward, even with the lead.

And an animated Klopp could finally relax 19 minutes from time when Diaz this time kept his composure to slot home his 10th goal of the season.

Elliott then rounded off the scoring on his 100th Liverpool appearance by blasting a loose ball into the top corner.
Defeat leaves Luton still in the relegation zone on goal difference.

“In the second half we played into their hands and their counter pressing was incredible, we experienced that full throttle football,” said Luton boss Rob Edwards.

“We knew today was going to be a really big task. We showed for long periods we are a good team and we can compete.”

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