ANOTHER three points on the road sees The Reds stride into 2018 — as The Anfield Wrap’s Mike Nevin brilliantly once said — “handily placed”.
In an almost complete reverse of 2016-17, Liverpool seem to be regaining momentum after a slow-ish start, having already recorded one more win than in the entire month of January last season, despite making seven changes to the side that bested Leicester City at Anfield by the same scoreline around 48 hours before.
Despite the huge changes in personnel, the two results share similar hallmarks. In particular, both games required Liverpool to summon a great deal of determination and resolve to win by the formerly lesser-spotted single goal.
Neither game would make the neutral’s top five performances, but given the un-Liverpool-like nature of the past two results, both have been celebrated far more than even the most impressive of 5-0 annihilations.
Liverpool have managed to get over the line for the second time in a week when they’ve been far from “on it”, registering their fourth win in five games and leaving them unbeaten in 16.
And while the last two performances haven’t been vintage by any stretch of the imagination, what hasn’t been lacking is effort, application and legs and maybe it isn’t a coincidence that the lack of mileage in The Reds’ legs compared to most in the league is finally telling.
What you can say with absolute certainty is that, in the same circumstances last year, you’d have taken long odds on Liverpool grafting it out when massive questions have been asked of them.
But of late, the Arsenal aberration aside, The Reds have taken massive blows on the chin and have come back off the ropes to recover with a maturity not seen before in this young side.
One often trotted-out stat that used to add to the anxiety that goes hand in hand with following these set of lads was the lack of goals after the 70-minute mark, the shrug of the shoulders as the clock ticked over. But, having registered four post-70th minute goals in their last four, The Reds have shown a developing resolve.
The learning over the last two fixtures, if heeded as I’m sure it will be, can be invaluable to this team as they cross the halfway mark in the season with plenty still to play for.
But while winning on the edge might be good for the soul, it certainly isn’t great for nerves of grey in the hairline, so hopefully we can return to the norm on Friday and get the result we should have got against the shite in our last meeting.
Up the unlikely winning lads.