“OH no, two women love me. They’re both gorgeous and sexy. My wallet’s too small for my 50s, and my diamond shoes are too tight.”
This line from Chandler Bing in a classic episode of US sitcom Friends has come to mind rather a lot lately, mainly because some people have quoted it to me, about me.
I wasn’t really aware of it but for several weeks now I have been going into work and one of the first things a colleague will say to me is “Good win for Liverpool,” to which I seem to have been replying “Yeah, glad we got the three points, wish we’d played better/scored a few more, though.” The usual response is a quizzical/annoyed eyebrow back at me from a long suffering Crystal Palace or Southampton fan.
This Monday saw a particular high though, when another Liverpool-supporting colleague raised concern at not keeping a clean sheet in the 4-1 win over Cardiff City. The primary comeback was “Yeah, it must be annoying to only just be top of the league…”
In truth, it is a little bit annoying. Liverpool aren’t even top anymore thanks to a lacklustre Tottenham showing against Manchester City on Monday night, even if a fortunate bobble on a dreadful surface and Erik Lamela’s inability to adjust to it was all that kept City from dropping points.
The irritating ability of last year’s champions to stay level on points with Jürgen Klopp’s men, and the apparent reemergence of the “one year on, one year off” Chelsea squad as challengers seems to be preventing some Liverpool fans from enjoying a season in which their team has made a remarkable start.
Ten games into the league campaign and The Reds are undefeated, dropping just four points, while at the halfway point they sit top of a Champions League group that pits them against two teams that are significantly stronger than any they faced at this stage last year in Europe.
Despite this, and despite a chief criticism of Liverpool sides past that they struggle to pick up points when not at their best, there seem to be some dissenting voices about the style of the victories rather than positivity on the substance of three points gained.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel where we preview, immediately react to and analyse every Liverpool game…
It could possibly be forgiven when one-goal triumphs over Brighton, Leicester and Huddersfield were a bit closer than many would have hoped, but then similar complaints came after Saturday as well, which felt one step too far.
It wasn’t an all-time classic performance by any means, but a surprising number of people on Twitter and on phone ins didn’t seem all that impressed with what ended up being a comfortable three points against a Cardiff team that held Spurs to just a 1-0 win a few weeks ago. If we’re going to get annoyed that The Reds only just managed to win a game 4-1 then we’re severely limiting our chances to enjoy this thing we bizarrely dedicate our lives to.
For a team that hasn’t collected enough points to win a title since 1990, the idea that Liverpool aren’t winning games properly seems pernickety to say the least.
Maybe it’s raised expectations based on last year’s performances and an aggressive summer transfer window, or maybe it’s the pressure we put on every point now that Liverpool are entering a title race against the best team the Premier League has ever seen. Either way, Liverpool are winning more often than not and while some remain appropriately joyous, others don’t seem to be as content with things as you would imagine after 26 points from a possible 30.
There have admittedly been some less than effervescent performances in the opening 10 league games, but let’s compare it to last year.
The opening 10 games in 2017-18 included a 3-3 draw at Watford, a laboured 1-0 win at home to Crystal Palace, a 5-0 defeat at City, a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley, a narrow 3-2 win at Leicester, further draws with Manchester United and Newcastle, and a 4-1 battering at the hands of Tottenham. The Reds then went on a run where they scored at least three times in eight of their next nine games.
In other words, it was about this time last year that they hit their stride. Perhaps eight goals in two home games in the last week is a sign that they are ready to do so again.
There may be an element of the team being a victim of its own success. Emphatic wins when the goals flowed like wine at a Roman banquet decorated the previous campaign, but there is the danger that some (particularly pundits) are misremembering those wins as being the norm. It certainly happened more often than your average season, but in 31 of their 56 games Liverpool only managed two goals or less, either dropping points or having to grind out wins.
They are certainly not scoring big numbers at the rate they were, or City are, but as already mentioned it took them a while to get going on that front last season as well. In fact, they had scored just 17 league goals at this point 12 months ago, whereas they have hit 20 so far this term. And let’s not forget that the defence has improved markedly.
The word for the season so far without doubt is “click”. Many have spoken of waiting for Liverpool to do such a thing, and it’s somewhat valid. Klopp has admitted himself that performances haven’t been perfect, and spoke recently of how annoyed the players were with themselves for not playing better in the 1-0 win at Huddersfield.
However, whether Liverpool “click” now, or a month from now, or not until after the New Year, as long as they maintain this ability to grind out wins when not at their best then does it really matter?
Some might argue that eventually it will catch up to them, but why should it? Klopp’s men are the only team to have not dropped a single point to a team outside of the top three so far this season.
So take time to smell the flowers, to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, and to say nothing else but “get the fuck in,” with an accompanying fist pump whenever someone at work asks if you enjoyed the win at the weekend.
Dancing round the office singing “Allez, Allez, Allez” and drumming on the printer might be a bit much, but there’s only so many times HR can call you in.
“What do you have to say for yourself?”
“Up the Reds.”
For more reaction to the Cardiff win, SUBSCRIBE to TAW Player…
“Shaqiri is all about vision and creativity, he can probably see a pass better than anyone else in the squad.” 👏
🗣 Listen to this week’s FREE Anfield Wrap podcast here 👉 https://t.co/n8FohiX6SU pic.twitter.com/WPlB3MIBON
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) October 29, 2018
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
Like The Anfield Wrap on Facebook
Ah, some perspective! Thank you
Expectationsw are where they should be. That is is a complete squad and these players should challenge for the title this season. So far so good. 100pts are the benchmark. We need to come as close as possible to hat pts tally if we want a crack at the League.
Chelsea and City won against Arsenal. We need to do the same on Saturday if we want to keep up.
The really important thing is to remember not to lose our collective shit if we get a weekend where we drop points and City and/or Chelsea don’t. That weekend will come soon enough, just as it will for the other two. We’re only just a quarter of the way through the season and its only going to get tougher as we go.
The reds need to just keep doing their thing – there’s only 6 points we can influence against those other 2 sides – and see where it takes us. Points will be dropped by everyone at differing points over the next 7 months and until it all plays out we don’t know where any of it leaves us.
6 clubs think they should win the league. Maybe 12 across Europe think they should win the CL. All backed with more money than some councils have to run a city. Klopp has got us competing at the top again consistently. Nobody should understimate how big a step forward that has been. Anyone who was in Shevchenko Park will remember the never ending procession of Reds heading to the ground through the streets of Kiev in the sunshine, feeling like a kid on Xmas Day. Seeing that massive banner at the ground Real Madrid v Liverpool. Champions League Final. We’re on our way back. Can he take us that final step ….he deserves it, this team deserve it but Jesus Christ it’s never been tougher. Be ambitious but give him time, this team is young.
There’s a lot in this. We’ve gone from a team that couldn’t win when we played badly to becoming a resolute side that now does so routinely. We’d all love to administer thumpings every week but sometimes you have to dig it out and as we’ve found to our cost over two decades or more, scoring goals has seldom been an issue – it’s keeping them out. Another plus point is this shows the depth of Klopp as a manager, and his adaptability. He’s gone from exhausting his patience with some players to flashing the chequebook to buy world class quality. He’s shown he’s happy to set the team up to play in a variety of ways, with the singular aim of getting the points.
And there’s maybe one more thing: in an increasingly frazzled world wobbling on its axis and fed by an atomic blizzard of social media shite we’re a people riddled with perpetual anxiety and always on the lookout for potential harbingers of doom. But I could be overthinking it. In which case, up the Reds.
I think your last point is valid if you look at the panic in some people over goal difference 10 games in. Although most of them seem to be panicking because someone else on the internet told them it was a thing.
Some may have a reason. We’ve actually lost out on GD for the league. Arsenal and Michael Thomas.
I even recall a wrongly disallowed goal gave Derby a League win in our last game of the season back in the mid 70s.
Shit happens and league championship can be snatched away by just one moment, that’s why some remember the last time we challenged and Gerrard’s slip. Hell the oppo supporters hang off this lately.
Nice article Dave Segar.
I do wonder if some even want to be pleased. However, i guess negativity comes from the absolute desire to win the league, yet having started so well in terms of points, there are still 5 teams within 6 points of us. Added to the fact that City are looking so good and the same with Chelsea. It’s easy to say ignore them but it can be a little more difficult if the fuckers won’t go away. Someone is going to fall back, have a bad run of form and perhaps the negative side of people looks at some of the performances and thinks it may be Liverpool. So we have to have trust that klopp and his lads will do the business week in and out, as they are. It’s early days yet but we are in the (almost) best position possible. They say hope is the last thing to die. Let’s hope we are there at the end.