Liverpool 4-1 Luton Town



Liverpool four points clear after storming comeback win over Luton

Liverpool’s 2019 vintage will always have Barcelona. The 2024 edition have Luton. Jürgen Klopp was compelled to draw comparisons between the two four-goal comebacks not because of the opposition or the occasion, clearly, but because of the circumstances, the character and the “thunderstorm” that unfolded inside Anfield. He will hope the similarities extend to silverware arriving as a result.

No excuses, the Liverpool manager had said while reeling off his injury list before Luton’s visit. The statement looked in need of revision when the league leaders trailed after an anxious 45 minutes against Rob Edwards’ enterprising team but, ultimately, no excuses were necessary. Liverpool restored their four point lead at the top with a storming second-half show and the belief it will take more than a few injuries to key players to derail their title challenge.

Klopp’s team have recovered 22 points from losing positions this season, more than any other Premier League side, and the latest felt hugely significant after Manchester City had reduced the gap to one the previous night. Behind to Chiedozie Ogbene’s first half header and fretting, on and off the pitch, Liverpool recovered to make light work of missing Mohamed Salah, Darwin Núñez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson and company.

It was not only the fight and the four goals that reminded Klopp of the 2019 Champions League semi-final. Liverpool’s second goal, the result of quick thinking near “Alexander-Arnold’s corner” by his redoubtable replacement, Conor Bradley, also had echoes of Divock Origi’s famous winner on that unforgettable night.

“I will mention this game quite a few times from now on,” said the Liverpool manager, whose fist-pump celebrations were even more exuberant than usual.

“I promised my team a few months ago that I would never mention the Barcelona game as an example and I used it again today so I broke my promise. This team at that time ignored the fact of who was missing and I wanted this team to ignore the fact of who is missing. This is now their example. This is now their Barcelona. Yes it was against Luton but it was a difficult situation with plenty of reasons to give up in moments but not tonight. I saw only a super group fighting. If you don’t limit yourself with bad thoughts you can fly, and that’s what the boys did.”

All problems are relative of course, and what Luton would give for an injury crisis that still left room for the Netherlands’ captain, Virgil van Dijk, his international colleague, Cody Gakpo, Colombia’s finest, Luis Díaz, and the occasional England Under-21s captain Harvey Elliott to score in a second successive 4-1 victory. Luton’s fine first half showing was long forgotten by the time World Cup winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister delivered two assists in two minutes for the Dutch duo

Chiedozie Ogbene gave Luton an early lead. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Liverpool started brightly but were stunned when the visitors took the lead from their first attack of note. A smart pass from Alfie Doughty found Cauley Woodrow inside the area, who laid the ball into the path of Tahith Chong. The former Manchester United player’s low drive struck the legs of Caoimhín Kelleher and looped up to the back post where Chiedozie Ogbene was perfectly placed to head home.

Luton’s composure and bravery on the ball was impressive. Their assured defending also added to Liverpool’s frustrations before the interval, although too many loose passes and rushed decisions from the home side contributed to the unease inside Anfield. That all changed when, as is so often the case under Klopp, Liverpool re-emerged for the second half with more conviction, more intensity and a willingness to commit more men forward. “We just made them angry, didn’t we?” reflected the Luton manager. “The first half was a really good performance but in the second we saw the force of Anfield and Liverpool with their full-throttle football. Their counter-pressing was amazing. In the end it was great learning for us to see what the best looks like.”

Van Dijk started the fightback with a captain’s goal, powering in ahead of Ogbene to send an unstoppable header past Thomas Kaminski from Mac Allister’s corner. The Argentina international was involved again when Bradley spotted his run and found him with a quick throw-in. Gakpo steered another emphatic header into the roof of Kaminski’s net from the first-time cross. Díaz atoned for several misses when drifting away from the impressive Teden Mengi and beating Kaminski at the near post.

Elliott completed the comeback when converting a loose ball after the 18-year-old debutant, Jayden Danns, had released Gakpo with a fine pass. It was Elliott’s 100th Liverpool appearance and Liverpool’s 100th goal in all competitions this season. No other team in Europe’s top five leagues have scored as many. Klopp’s team march on to Wembley.


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