Standing out in the first part of results this weekend was Liverpool finally winning a league match, beating West Brom 2-1 with goals from Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, while Barcelona kept on keeping a clean sheet, beating Rayo Vallecano 2-0 with one minute of clinical finishing, getting goals from Lionel Messi and Neymar.
For Liverpool, this was a must win match. Still no Daniel Sturridge, but more importantly three league matches without a win and coming off another loss in the Champions League, this time in Switzerland to Basel. The attacking game is stuck, Mario Balotelli is already looking frustrated and affecting the rest of the team. If this season was to start taking a positive turn, beating West Brom had to happen.
Despite the narrow victory, this was a more impressive performance from Liverpool than in recent matches. Just like in their draw against Everton, they hardly allowed any chances to be created against them. West Brom’s only real threat inside the box was the penalty kick scored by Berahino. This time though, there was no wonder shot from Phil Jagielka to ruin their day, and Liverpool went on to win their third match of the season.
Adam Lallana has looked better and better in every match since coming off an injury, shaking off layers of rust. He scored the opening goal after some fantastic passing leading up to it. His finish wasn’t the cleanest, but when it’s the 45th minute and the pressure is on, it doesn’t matter. The man who set up his goal, Jordan Henderson, enjoyed maybe the only really positive move from Raheem Sterling in the second half, as the rising England star set up the dynamo of a midfielder for the winning goal in the 61st minute, five after Berahino equalized.
In Madrid, Rayo failed to be the team that broke the deadlock of scoring against Barcelona. Yes, Barca are coming off a 3-2 loss in Paris to Saint-Germain, but it didn’t have any effect on their league form. Claudio Bravo, with Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra playing in front of him, remains perfect in his appearances for his new club.
Barcelona only needs a little does of inspiration to finish off matches. That’s the luxury of having Neymar and Lionel Messi, kicking off this season with incredible form. Lionel Messi in the 35th minute with his sixth league goal this season, getting into scoring form, followed by Neymar, this time not assisted by Messi, only a minute later, with his seventh of the season. That wrapped things up quite nicely.