philblundell

I WROTE a piece during the last international break saying I’d be excited if we were within six points of Manchester City. Well we can go back and read that and laugh at my pessimism, can’t we?

What a shame that we’re a full seven points better off than I’d have been happy with. We’re top of the league, we’ve got the Guardian robbing Steve Graves’ abacus and using it come up with another alternative league table that no one really understands. All that I understood about it was that we were top, so, well in lads, hope you win that podcast award.

We were absolutely great on Sunday, weren’t we? Overhearing the Watford fans on the train back down to London on Sunday was really enjoyable. They were waxing lyrical. I may have said last week I was going to start ignoring opposition fans but when they’re being as complimentary as these lads were how can I?

I was a little bit concerned after 15 minutes or so, though. I thought they organised themselves well and made us resort to lashing balls up to Roberto Firmino’s head and, while he was willing, it didn’t really work. After about 12 minutes I was bang up for bringing Divock Origi on and using him to bully them. And that people is why I pay money to get in and Jürgen Klopp gets free clothes and a really comfy seat.

I’m really looking forward to this weekend and watching the Red Machine.

Oh wait, we’re having a weekend off so England can play some pig farmers in meaningless game of football no one really cares about. I don’t even know who they’re playing, or what country they’re playing in, or who’s in the squad.

What’s the point in all of this? Well, I know that strictly speaking it’s to qualify for the World Cup, but can we not get a better way of doing this sorted out?

I’ve done some research into it and discovered that England are playing Scotland and then playing a friendly. A friendly?! They haven’t got another game until March and they’re playing another friendly then. What exactly is the point of all this?

England's (left to right) Daniel Sturridge, Chris Smalling, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana arrive at the Hilton Gateshead.

England v Spain in a training session, when England have two competitive games between now and next September. Surely even the ardent England followers, who spent a month getting chased around by Russians, think this is crackers.

I’ve just had a look at the South American games and at least they’re actually playing meaningful football. Brazil v Argentina sounds quite good, as goes Argentina v Colombia but these lunatics play 18 games each to qualify – one of them will play 20.

We’ve got Southampton away a week on Saturday, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will be playing football in Peru while you’re in bed on Tuesday night. How’s this helping Liverpool win the league? How are Willian, Oscar and David Luiz doing the same helping Chelsea win the league?

We forked out over £100k last time to get them on a private jet home as quickly as possible and we were only alright then because we played Manchester United on a Monday night. The previous international break saw Coutinho given the day off against Leicester after a late return from Manaus.

Yes, Manaus. Brazil decided to make a difficult turnaround for all their players by deciding to have the game in the middle of the amazon, in a rainforest, in conditions that are hard to recover from on a Tuesday night. Cheers lads.

Something needs to change. We’re paying hundreds of thousands of pounds a week to two footballers who absolutely cannot be at their freshest to play a really tough-looking Premier League game at Southampton.

Why do we have to have three international breaks before Christmas? Why can’t we just have two or one? It would be a hard graft but I think I’d prefer a three week or so break in the middle of October, where they can bang out five or six games and people like Firmino and Coutinho would save themselves two trips across the Atlantic Ocean. Give them less travelling and there’s less need for an international break.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal of the game with Philippe Coutinho (right) during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool.

It might actually make it a little bit more interesting as well. Who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t, but it couldn’t get any duller than it is right now.

We’re nearly one-third of the way through the season and it doesn’t really feel like it’s actually started. Three games. See you in two weeks. Then four. Then two weeks. Then another four. Have another two weeks off, lads.

Praise be to FIFA that this is the last one we’ve got until March. Four months without any meaningful break in the action – paradise. A chance for the Reds to build up a head of steam and kick on with a set of favourable fixtures.

When we walk on to the pitch against City on New Year’s Eve I’d be quite happy with a nice round figure of 40 points. That’s 14 points from our next seven – I’ve even factored a defeat into there. Four wins, two draws and a defeat between now and City and we’ll have 40 points after 17 games. It would be pretty difficult to see a team being above us in that case. I’d take that.

There is of course the possibility that this is all academic and Donald Trump is given the nuclear codes between me writing this and the Tricky Reds sauntering down to Southampton with a swagger, but what can we do?

I think being top of the table in April and old Donald deciding he wanted to nuke the Clinton’s vegetable patch, thus ending the World, would be the most Liverpool thing ever.

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