When you saw Livorno dropping nine or 10 guys behind the ball right from the get-go, there was the general gut feeling that Juventus would have to be patient in their attempts to break down their opponents on Sunday. There was plenty of possession, but not many chances.
Then Kwadwo Asamoah made the run. Paul Pogba made the beautiful cross. Fernando Llorente volleyed it home. The patience had finally paid off and Juve were deservedly up 1-0, on their way to a fifth straight win in Serie A after the disaster against Fiorentina and yet another clean sheet.
It's almost becoming routine at this point, huh?
Maybe not that much, but this is the Juve of last year with a new twist, not the one of a few months back.
For a long period of time, it wasn't a game that would have gotten you many style points. Were there moments of substance? Absolutely. As the second half went on, Juve's play resembled the way they went into the international break. They dominated possession, created plenty of scoring chances, and got the three points.
Llorente: We played well, especially in the second half when we created more clear-cut chances and scored two vital goals. #LivornoJuve— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) November 24, 2013
Even with all the injuries and absences, no worries coming out of the international break. The train kept rolling. Now it's back to Turin with the Danes coming to town for a decisive Champions League encounter.
Random thoughts and observations
- It's hard not to root for Llorente considering everything he's been through the past year or so. And when he has games like he had against Livorno, it makes the slow integration into the Juventus squad even that much more worth it. It was just the goal great finish on Pogba's cross. His second half was as good or better than anybody else. His hold up play on Tevez's goal was superb. And the more he plays alongside Tevez, the more Llorente's understanding has developed.
Once Llorente started to get consistent playing time, you wanted to see him take steps forward to show that Conte's decision to hold him back at the start of the season was the right choice. And guess what? Llorente's doing just that.
- Arturo Vidal: Not a bad guy to have around when you need a makeshift central defender.
- Was I worried about Juve's new-look defense? Maybe a little. But the way they played, they put any doubts to rest in a hurry. The back three of Caceres, Vidal and Chiellini didn't miss a beat. Depth is a great thing to have, and Antonio Conte has it all over the place on this squad.
- The run from Asamoah was obviously the highlight of his day, but as a whole, he really gave Juve a presence out of the left wing.
- Seven goals in 12 Serie A starts for Tevez. This has been your weekly Carlitos goal tally update.
- Juventus' top scorers in Serie A last season, Vidal and Mirko Vucinic, had 10. The way Tevez is going right now, he could equal or pass that total by the winter break.
- Speaking of goals, Simone Zaza and Domenico Berardi both scored for Sassuolo today. Well done, kids.
- Livorno broke on a second-half counter after a Juve corner and did you notice who raced back and ended the attack before it became serious danger? Claudio Marchisio. Sure, he isn't up to his form of a couple of years ago, but it's those kinds of things that sometimes go unnoticed.
- A clean sheet and hopping over Roma at the top of the table. If Gigi Buffon could have ordered up a way his 500th Serie A appearance would go, I'm pretty sure it would have looked a lot like the end result.
500 - @gianluigibuffon played today his 500th Serie A game, keeping his 145th clean sheet in 332 top-flight appearances for Juventus. Legend— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 24, 2013