Crystal Palace 0 - 7 Liverpool | The force is with us

Wow, insert mind blown graphic here. That was some kind of performance. You might reasonably call it perfect although Palace it has to be said, we're not great opponents.

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After the match Roy Hodgson, who was so confused he thought we'd scored ten, credited his team with not throwing the towel in and they didn't. Which makes our goals all the better but Palace's limited threat on our own goal surely helped.

Nonetheless this was a statement making win. The rest of the league take heed, the force is with us and playing well we'll put any team to the sabre. Frighteningly for pretenders to our throne, we've been doing that with barely half a squad and players not at full throttle.

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Now however, our Jedi's are returning and we're making the jump to light speed. Can the rest keep up Only time will tell how the 2020/21 story ends......

For this article I was struggling to find a way to review a 'everyone scored eleven out of ten' game but while mulling it over, I had a eureka moment and hope you won't mind the off-shoot.

Keita played a whole match - for a while it's been noticeable how much we missed his unique cut and thrust in midfield. More lately I've begun to feel Jones can provide the same. Perhaps today's game gave an opportunity to find out.

This season Jones has played 9 EPL games, averaging 58 minutes in each. Including today Keita's played 7 EPL games, averaging 57 minutes in each. This seems like two fairly close and fairly comparable durations.

Of course it's nice to have both players and this isn't about who is best or choosing a favourite but asking: if one of them is out, how confident can we be of maintaining the sort of midfield potency on display today via Keita, and also as an example when we recently beat Wolves 4-0 via Jones.

Starting with their heat maps, let's see how they're seasons to date compare.

To me that shows Jones is more involved in matches overall and with a bias toward attack versus Keita's more balanced role. No major surprises though. Let's look at things in more detail.

Okay this isn't turning out to reveal quite the revelations I thought it might but again we can see Jones edging things in terms of attack. How about their general passing play.

In the passing figures Jones edges further ahead, in fact it's a bit of a trouncing but perhaps Jones is a more forward focussed player or Klopp requests he play that kind of role more so than Keita.

This is starting to show something I never expected because I felt Keita was our best attacking threat from midfield and so far the stats suggest otherwise.

Perhaps the next data set will yield a reverse picture where Keita's doing greater defensive work.

Oh, well that's helpfully inconclusive. Very close but if anything I think Jones shades the defending stats as well. Of course stats aren't everything, far from it but in this case are we seeing a fair representation? Is Jones a better all round player. One list left, maybe Naby can pull it out of the fire.

Interestingly Keita does indeed outperform Jones in successful dribbles which reinforces the generally held view that he's good at driving the ball forward and perhaps our best player in that respect.

In the other categories it's too close to call again but overall my feeling is we don't lose much in fielding Jones instead of Keita. Add the fact that Jones has so far shown a robustness Keita can only dream of plus being the younger player Jones has the potential to get better and better.

All this means you can see Naby might spend some time on the bench, in favour of a starting spot going to Jones. When all is said and done this is great news, it shows we have strength in an area which we didn't last season. With Keita being injured a fair bit it will also allow Klopp to rotate between the two while keeping both players happy, as well as hungry.

Lastly on this, what do people think about our midfield, do we still require an even more attacking type of player like Coutniho, or have Jones and Keita got all the necessary tools? We've discussed this a bit in recent weeks but now with K and J both getting reasonable pitch time it might be easier to decide.

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Returning to today's match another positive within in a sea of nothing but positives was Minamino's performance. It was fantastic to see him bag the opening goal. He's been playing far better of late and is slowly carving out a valued spot in the squad.

He looks to have been eating his spinach and earlier concerns he wasn't tough enough for the EPL are dissipating - replaced by a tough hard working player who relentlessly hounds the opposition and is better understanding the Red players around him.

These things see Minamino in good attacking positions, often after winning the ball directly himself, then linking up nicely with our other attackers and providing a goal threat. Can't ask for more.

Overall today was just a superb display which has taken us nicely clear at the top of the table for Christmas. Talking of which Romper has put together a festive article which we'll be publishing soon so keep an eye out for that.

To wrap this one up let's have a listen to Master Obi-Wan Kloppobi.

Before finishing on a sabering, seven nil note for the rest of the league.................

....................We're back!

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