ONE of the best teams Pep Guardiola has seen in his life.
A team that has bettered the Rafa Benítez side that clocked up 86 points and featured 24-goal Steven Gerrard, one of the best of our own.
A group that has won more points than the Brendan Rodgers team that included 31-goal Luis Suárez, a player many believe to be the most skillful to wear the red.
However you choose to look at it, Liverpool’s record over 35 Premier League games this season is deserving of enormous credit. So let’s give them it. All of it.
Eighty-eight points is a phenomenal tally. Clubs have won the league with fewer. Only twenty goals conceded. Only one defeat.
From August to April, it’s been machine-like consistency. And what a life it’s made for us. Week in, week out, watching a side perform magnificently. Left to talk about a side that could win the double. Left to dream about an incarnation of the club so much better than so many of those we have lived through in the past three decades.
The suggestion continues to circulate that all will be forgotten if the Premier League trophy is not wrapped in red ribbons come May 12.
Not only is that nonsense – we found joy in 2013-14 even if it didn’t end how we wanted it to – that particular fate is not in Liverpool’s control. And for every doom-mongering scenario painted inside and out of our bubble in this tightest of races, there is another sunshine-filled one if you think about it hard enough.
Liverpool win three times. City draw one of their four remaining games. That’s enough. That’s all it would take. So now is not the time for white towels or whinging or whining.
We go on. A title still within reach deep into April. Bars filled with smiling faces. Every match a pleasure to be at. The “what ifs” and “just imagines” are a joy to discuss.
There’s a European Cup to play for. A title to play for. For so many others who love their club the world over there is just plodding routine. Players on the beach. Meaningless matches. Going through the motions. Thinking already of next August and what that may bring.
So many times that was us. Already by now we’d be deep into the season review – where it all went wrong, what needs to change on and off the pitch, how deep the problems run. Attitude, application, players, manager, owners. All of it.
Where Manchester United are, basically. And Everton. Just as a couple of examples among the many…
Instead, it’s cheekily planning parties. It’s booking multiple trips to Spain. It’s celebrating one of the best teams in the world to watch right now and enjoying the moment of us being us and us not being them. The right here, right now is fantastic.
Let’s drink it in.
Jürgen Klopp was right, like he so often is, when he described this squad as “fucking mentality monsters” after the win at Southampton.
The pressure and tension of this title race is there by the bucket-load if you allow it in. You’ve probably felt it, I know I have. If you haven’t, you’ll know someone who has.
Yet we see players still enjoying it. James Milner with his imaginary walking stick this week. Andy Robertson calmly taking in the golf on the telly while Manchester City played Palace pre-Chelsea last week. This is not a club fraught and frayed by what is playing out.
So much of sport psychology is finding the right place to perform, silencing the noise, being able to do what you’ve done thousands of times before at the most crucial of times. Liverpool are doing just that, over and over again. And it’s left us with a chance. An opportunity. “Possibilities, no?”, as a great man once said.
This Liverpool isn’t going away. Whatever happens, the “mentality monsters” are sticking around. Transfer talk around Liverpool’s top stars currently feels so fanciful that it barely raises a ripple when it happens. Why would they want to leave this?
The last time Liverpool won the league John Barnes was linked to Real Madrid during the run-in. It was laughed off and the club cracked on.
This time Mo Salah has been linked to Juventus. The club is laughing and cracking on once again.
It wasn’t always this way. Sometimes it felt like this place would never be reached. That players would always be picked off. That The Reds couldn’t compete.
Last season, Liverpool finished 25 points behind City. Guardiola’s side won it by 19. They had it all their own way. Not this time.
The Reds could have regressed after Kyiv. Boom then bust could have kicked in once more, like it has so many times before. Klopp willed it differently. And now look. Another week. More hope. More prayers. Just a draw, please. Then The Reds again on Friday.
Any spares? Not a chance.
It wasn’t always this way. Enjoy it.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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88 points, same as in 1986,but seven fewer games played.
Bloody hell. Just the various permutations give rise to palpitations.
Been waiting for a season like this for thirty years now.
Super exciting and no matter the outcome proud to be a Red.
Well said Gareth. Anything is still possible and these lads have given us so much to smile about this season… and in truth, I still don’t think we have seen us play to our full potential that we capable of.
Let’s get behind Man Utd and will them on. I know, strange concept, but what the hell :)
Wonderful article Gareth; broken down most simply, our Reds won on and am we need is a City draw somewhere. With United battered at Goodison, they will need a result
desperately in the Derby. Last year they won outright to delay City’s title won and this year they can help take them out. Can’t wait for Huddersfield on Friday for what will surely be a great atmosphere
Gareth Roberts. Kenny Dalglish is the most skillful player to ever wear the red shirt of Liverpool. Not Luis Suarez!
Sound, mate, I said ‘many people believe…’. And they do.
“many people, who never saw Kenny Daglish play, believe…” ;o)
See Burnley drew 2 vs 2 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last night. This is a Chelsea team needing every point to qualify for the CL next year. If Burnley can give Chelsea a game away from home then who knows what they will do when playing City at home.
Man Utd also need a big response and they are also going for CL qualification. They are at home and I am hoping are going to be very much the wounded, wound up beast when they play City.
Liverpool are an even better team now than they were at the start of the season. Gomez, Fabinho and the promise of Keita beginning to show. The rest of the squad keep growing, maturing. Trent and Andy keep on getting better.
They will be even better next season. So much to enjoy now and in the future, and The Anfield Wrap has its new App, how much better can it get.
Yes. I agree they are one of the best teams to amassed so many points from the number of matches.
Probably will not happen again in a long time, like City’s last championship run.
So I hope we can win something this season to cap this wonderful run, starting with some help from tonight’s game.
It won’t decide the title by any means, with both City and LFC needing to play 3 more games with a possible 9 points to gain. Anything can happen in these games.
I don’t think OGS and their players (unlike some of their supporters) are bothered about Liverpool winning anything. For their club CL spot may prevent their full tilt into the abyss of mediocrity, which they’re on course to do so.
If it was Liverpool in United’s position, we or at least I would be more bothered about attracting good players in the summer with CL to offer.
On that thought I feel very happy knowing what we have, and how far Jurgen and the players have come.