Roberto De Zerbi’s actions and words say a lot in his Anfield debut

With all questions answered, Roberto Di Zerbi paused as he stood to leave his post-match press conference.

He then delivered a farewell message to the assembled reporters.

“I’m sorry for my English,” he told them—in English.

“Next time in Liverpool I will be able to speak good English.”

Presumably he meant next time he goes to Anfield.

Albion will, of course, return to Liverpool in January to play Everton.

They will be looking to extend their unbeaten run to five games on Merseyside and many of the reporters De Zerbi touched on Saturday will be working at Goodison.

It will be interesting to see what progress he has made so far.

And how fluently his team speaks on the De Zerbian pitch.

It is believed that both have made significant progress.

That was a good start. Just a very good Premier League football match on a world famous stage where Albion played the more attractive football and deserved at least a point.

Leandro Trossard got the ball rolling with two crisp shots and late on completed the club’s first top-flight hat-trick in 42 years.

Just the right thing for what almost felt like the first day of a new season, given the 27-day hiatus between games and everything that happened in between.

Feelings of excitement, optimism, and even exhilaration are well placed.

If De Zerbi gets it right, the change at the top – unplanned as it was – can work brilliantly.

But amid the outpouring of positivity about the new manager, it’s important to remember a few things.

Lest it be forgotten, Albion played very good football before the change of coach.

They were getting results at Anfield and had started scoring a lot of goals.

They also had an extremely passionate and dedicated head coach on the sidelines.

He didn’t show it like De Zerbi did to some extent on Saturday and no doubt will continue to do so.

But he was starting to be a little more outspoken in words and actions.

If Graham Potter hadn’t been passionate and protective of his team, he wouldn’t have taken offense at a few light boos, for example.

He was passionate about the way he wanted to play the game, which is why he was steadfast in some very lean periods.

In many ways, Albion have gone for continuity with the appointment of De Zerbi. But continuity with a twist.

That’s the beauty of it.

They have a carefully curated squad of players capable of playing the football De Zerbi wants.

Now we’re waiting to see how much will change, both with what the new boss has inherited and what he might add in January.

The goal that gave Albion a 2-0 lead was brilliantly designed by Solly March’s subdued assist and dealt with by Trossard.

It was the kind of angled, hooked left foot finish he’d produced earlier in the game and recently at home against Leicester.

But it all started when Robert Sanchez played the ball out very briefly and Liverpool were invited to press.

Was that, I asked, a foretaste of what we will see many times in the future?

De Zerbi replied, “I think Potter deserves a lot of credit today.

“He left me a great team.

“I’m just trying not to cause any harm by adding my ideas.

“Then if you ask me where and how I can improve the team, we can play a lot more with the ball, even in the Premier League, which is a very difficult league.

“We clearly showed today that even a team as strong as Liverpool reduces the intensity of their pressing if we can make four or five passes in a row.”

De Zerbi has a decent understanding of English, more in understanding than speaking.

But it feels like he has so much more to say.

So many more footballing ideas to share with us and the general public.

Limited English is sort of a straitjacket in this regard at the moment, but it will undoubtedly wear off.

It seems that the message got through to his players loud and clear in a short space of time.

The players had meetings with their boss and Trossard said the training sessions had been “intense”.

The manager used the word ‘crack’ to describe the Belgium international.

It’s an English word, but one that the Italians and Spanish use in a way we don’t.

“A Crack” is a star, an artist of exceptional caliber.

His exceptional footwork and clean finish saw him score twice after being spotted by Danny Welbeck in March.

That early stage was stunning, with Welbeck and Trossard creating good chances that went unrewarded thanks to Alisson’s saves as March wreaked havoc.

Robert Sanchez matched with a block from Mo Salah just as the Kop were already roaring for a goal.

Albion were a little unlucky with the Reds’ first goal as Salah was just on the side when he hooked the ball into Roberto Firmino’s lane for a finish that was flagged for offside but then VAR approved.

Firmino has played more minutes than any other player under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool and he was reliable again when he dunked in in the second half to even things out.

Albion had been exposed when March’s low cross in the Kop goal maul was clipped with a 3-1 lead.

But after a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner was missed by Sanchez and Adam Webster rebounded to put the hosts ahead, Albion regained his composure.

With Kaoru Mitoma on the left, they asked questions.

Alisson denied Welbeck before a move involving all ten fielders meant Trossard was level.

Albion went into the weekend with the best defensive record in the league (five goals conceded). Liverpool had the joint second best (six goals conceded).

These records could have been dented further, and it was a compelling viewing.

It was structured based on years of hard work and development.

It was also fun, free-roaming, and fluid—and it’s only going to get better.

Liverpool: Alisson: Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Tsimikas (59th Elliott); Henderson (Milner 59), Fabinho, Thiago (Nunez 89); Salah, Firmino (Iota 75), Carvalho (Diaz 46).

Unused substitutions: Adrian, Gomez, Phillips, Melo Goals: Firmino 33, 54, Webster OG 63. Yellow card: Alexander-Arnold (86.) Foul.

Albion: Sanchez: Veltman, Dunk, Webster; March, Caicedo, Mac Allister, Estupinan (Lallana 76); Gross (Mitoma 65), Welbeck, Trossard (Lamptey). Unused substitutions: Steele, Colwill, Sarmiento, Encisco, Undav, Gilmour Goals: Trossard 4, 17, 83.

Yellow card: Estupinan (30) for wasting time. Roberto De Zerbi’s actions and words say a lot in his Anfield debut

Fry Electronics Team

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