'The spark is back!' – Liverpool star Robertson sends warning to title rivals Man City
The Scotland international was influential in the Reds’ 5-0 win over Watford at Anfield after successive goalless draws had stunted their progress
Andy Robertson grins as the realisation hits him.
“So I’m not even the top Scotsman?!” laughs the Liverpool full-back. “Thanks for that!”
He is talking about assists, and digesting the fact that only three players in the Premier League have more than he does this season.
Eden Hazard and Leroy Sane are the obvious names at the top of that particular list, the other is Ryan Fraser, Robertson’s international team-mate.
Robertson took his own tally to eight, laying on goals for Divock Origi and Virgil van Dijk as Liverpool romped to a 5-0 victory over Watford at Anfield on Wednesday. On the other flank Trent Alexander-Arnold, the right-back, recorded a hat-trick of his own, as the Reds’ full-backs ruled the roost.
“Sometimes my passes don’t find people, but I do try and create,” smiles Robertson. “It’s good to get two assists but if I get two, I expect Trent to get three – and he’s outshone me again today! Fair play to him. Our delivery was good.”
Better than good. Liverpool, criticised for a lack of cutting edge after a recent run of four draws in five games, chose a good time to rediscover their form in the final third. It keeps Jurgen Klopp’s men at the top of the table, with 10 games remaining.
“A lot of people have been saying that we lost our spark,” Robertson said. “You can kind of agree, we had one shot on target against [Manchester] United and it was [Daniel] Sturridge’s shot from 45 yards which trickled into [David] De Gea’s arms.
“We didn’t create enough and we have to look at that. But [against Watford] it could have been more than five. Maybe it was the spark that we’ve been needing – maybe it will be the spark that gives the lads the confidence in front of goal again, I’m sure it will.”
Robertson admitted that Liverpool’s full-backs had been identified as key weapons with which to attack Watford.
“The teams that have been successful against them this season have used their full-backs well,” he said. “We looked at the clips and we knew we’d get a bit of space.
“The first half, Trent’s delivery was a joke if I’m honest! Each one he put in was right on the money and he probably could have had four assists alone before half time. Credit to him, he was full of confidence today.
“We need to step up all over the pitch– with goals as well. Big Virgil has finally got his head on the ball so fair play to him! We all need to chip in with goals and assists. It’s not just the front three. It’s not just the defence that keeps clean sheets either. It’s a team game.”
Van Dijk’s contribution, in particular, was warmly received by the Liverpool faithful. The Dutchman, a firm favourite, has been in dominant form all season. His two late headers in front of the Kop served to simply underline his class.
On Thursday morning, as the dust settled on the midweek round of fixtures, a press release dropped from one betting company, revealing the £75 million man was the odds-on favourite to be named PFA Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.
Should it happen, Van Dijk would be the first defender to win the award since John Terry in 2004-05, and only the second since 1993.
“If the season ended tonight, I would give him it personally,” said Robertson. “There’s still 10 games to go, so somebody can step up from another team. But Virgil can take it to a whole new level, I reckon.
“He makes my life easier, that’s for sure! To have him next to me it makes everything so much easier. When somebody is running at you and you know Virgil is inside – he’s rarely out of position, if ever. For me, he’s the best centre back just now in the world. That’s the way he’s playing and the confidence he’s got.
“And he’s still young enough that he can get even better. He’s so consistent as well. If he puts the performances in during the last 10 games as he has done, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have that trophy.
“The attacking players are usually in the running because they take all the goals and the headlines but this season Virgil has been fantastic and he’s getting all the plaudits that he deserved. It will be close if he doesn’t win it.”
The same could be said about the title race, of course. Liverpool, at the very least, will “go close” this season, but Robertson and Co. are in no mood to settle for second prize.
Next on their hitlist? Everton, away. That should be a quiet one!