JÜRGEN Klopp will tell you it means nothing. That’s where we and he differ.
While the manager will be looking at the next three points rather than where Adama Traore’s late salvo puts the title race, we can’t stop looking at the league table and wishing it was early May.
This is the point where logic does battle with emotion. While it’s easy to be carried away some of us aren’t falling for the “this is definitely, definitely it” daydreaming. We’ve been burned by high-octane expectancy more than most, but it still doesn’t stop us thinking about those numbers.
Twenty-four points. Sixteen points. An eight-point lead after eight games.
For a club who spent the summer obsessed with the number six, it’s now eight which drips into thoughts in unguarded moments.
Anfield Wrap contributor Phil Blundell summed this up on Twitter over the weekend when he reflected that eight points doesn’t sound that much in the grand scheme of things, only to find himself thinking the exact opposite seconds later. Eight points IS a lot, isn’t it?
That will most likely be cut to five by the time The Reds take to the pitch at Old Trafford as City have to knock over Palace 23 hours earlier. The Eagles have recorded some surprising victories this season but they’ve been away from Selhurst Park. We’d expect nothing less than a City win.
There are no certainties in football and though City have lost to two unfancied teams in Norwich and Wolves, there’s no way that will become a theme. All Liverpool can do is keep winning.
And that’s all we’re doing. The scare at Salzburg gave us a wake-up call and it resulted in more prosaic football against Brendan Rodgers’ team. Where there was swashbuckling antics midweek there was a concentration on solely winning battles before Milner and Mane twice combined to take the points.
A word about the penalty. Soft? Bought? Those terms are no longer relevant now we have an all-seeing eye in the stands (or in an industrial estate near Heathrow) which can call things seemingly without emotion.
Albrighton knew it was a penalty immediately. His reaction said so. Instead of running to the referee with a wide-eyed pleading, he slid across to the turf with his hands over his eyes. He knew what it was.
Of course, I write these words from the safe side of history. My team won the game thanks to that error and the steely determination of James Milner so I can afford to wave away criticism. Had it happened down the other end things might have been different.
And that seems to be the problem with VAR. If it goes your way then fine. If it doesn’t it’s just another example of the game trying to change itself for the sake of it. I’ll change my mind if United get a penalty in a fortnight, but for the time being I’m all for it. Does that make me a hypocrite? Of course it does. You are too. So is Alan Shearer.
The later the penalty award the more controversial it is. That’s the rule.
Only the diehards claimed that Mo’s pen in Madrid was dubious while most neutrals thought it spoilt the game as Liverpool didn’t have to attack anymore. I didn’t care. Was Saturday’s penalty dubious? Well, it reminds me of the time Kenny Dalglish was asked just why Liverpool got so many penalties: “Because people keep fouling us in the box.”
But back to the weekend. It was a perfect one for The Reds. City cede ground in the title race while Everton drop into the bottom three by virtue of United being beaten by a 12-year-old. Once again we are unbearable and this time we didn’t have anything to do with it.
Gary Lineker sulkily made reference to us throwing large leads before (Leicester and Spurs having lost) and further afield the cry of us celebrating the league title in October came up as if we’d done any such thing.
Seriously, did anyone shout “that’s the league won” at the final whistle on Sunday? No one I know mentioned the title for precisely the reason they advertised. This support knows about slapping fate around the face and challenging it to do its worst.
Of course we celebrated but it was the number eight, not 19.
That “you’ve blown it before” thing is all about building a narrative for the day when City have a better weekend than us.
Watch what happens when we drop points (and we will). Talk will turn to resurgence in one quarter and panic in the other. That has nothing to do with an anti-Liverpool biased, really. They just want a close contest and clubs walking away with the league before anyone else has started isn’t great for “the product”.
That’s quite understandable. After all, where is the drama in that? It makes less sense when an element of snide creeps in. Then it becomes more tiresome than insulting.
Suddenly Liverpool are lucky. Liverpool have the stiff shirts of the Premier League in their back pocket. Liverpool are somehow corrupt. After all how can Liverpool, the champions of Europe and League runners up, be so far ahead so early in a, erm, two-horse race?
This is not to say that we seek validation of any kind, nor is it a call to be accepted. I’m fine with being the club that people dislike – unbearable, cocky, overcelebratory etc – but Liverpool leading after eight games was hardly outside the realms of possibility.
No we’re not talking about the league title nor are we cheating or playing the system. We are simply basking in the glory that the past three years has given us.
From near extinction in 2010 to European champions and eight points clear of one of the finest football teams this country has ever produced. If Man United and Everton want to add to that joy – hell, I’ll even add the frankly bizarre Tottenham here – then so be it.
It’s also great that this weekend came before the international break. Now we have a fortnight to prepare for United.
They say the form book goes out of the window at local derbies and though United are excruciating to watch there won’t be many older heads in the ground expecting a walkover. They’ll find an extra 10% from somewhere and inflicting a defeat against their biggest rivals is the perfect way to get back on track.
Solskjaer can undo so much negativity with a 97th minute penalty winner. It’s never a pen, by the way.
Like the Small Faces, we’re living in the afterglow of what’s just happened and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes it’s enough to just celebrate the day.
Here’s hoping we have plenty more of them.
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Just put in another comment that none of this matters. It is all about our next game. It is all about the next positive result. Utd are up next and they have a lot to prove, but so do we. We went there last season and were abject… in fact lets say as it was, we were shite and we were worse than shite there the season before. They will come at us and we need to be ready to expect that and give it them back. We need that result.
League tables are to look at at the end of the season. Points can then be tallied up. In the mean time all games we play in are the most important. All are cup finals. All need to be won. so lucky or not (and we seem to have more than our fair share of being UNLUCKY) I could not give a jot about what others say or feel. I am only interested in us and hoping in our next game we get the 3 points. There’s nothing to celebrate just yet other than we beat some team this season and are in a good position thus far.
Of course it matters. Every win matters. Every happy feeling after a Liverpool win matters. It’s about moments in football. That’s what fans are in it for.
It doesn’t matter at present until the grand scheme of things. We are just well placed and we have to keep going. We are happy now and can enjoy this moment, but it’s about perspectives… If we lose that next umpteen but batter the oppo off the park and are unlucky then does this make us a bad team? Do we then go into complete melt down?
I enjoyed the previous 2 season as they started showing consistency, a journey, a proper strategy and the fact we were a bloody good footballing team. I truly enjoyed those season, yet some felt unless we won something that nothings matters, including yourself TR. I am also enjoying this season as we find ways to get across the line with an all important win. I am enjoying watching our players… But I am not concentrating on anything other than the next game and looking forward to watching our boys, our fans, our manager, our team again… So like it or not, nothing matters until the end of the season other than enjoying these moments and then at the end we can see where we have come and if it’s been enjoyable then isn’t that also all part of the magic?
Saying that I am a greedy fecker and want it all but I am still enjoying the moment without looking at points margins and stuff like that and feeling I need others (pundits on TV and oppo fans etc) to justify what is happening, or how I am feeling. I love this current team as they are a damn good footy team with damn good players… What’s not to like just about that in itself. :)
Well said Karl. I’ve done my damnedest not to look further ahead than the next game, to adhere to the mantra, but with the international break enshrouding us I had a peak and the next five are … tricky. But then, we’re better than all the teams we are due to play in the next five, with the possible exception of City. And we are potentially better than City and hopefully the table at the end of the season will prove it. But it’s really a pivotal run and the next one is just huge. It would be just like Utd and Solksjaer to somehow bag a flukey win. We must not let that happen. I don’t care how we win, but we must win. Yep, we’ll drop points sooner or later, but let’s not start at Old Trafford, please, and let’s keep those dropped points to a minimum. I’m trying hard not to get ahead of myself, but I really bloody want the league.
Results-wide, the Reds have been perfect so far in the League.
We have never won at Old Trafford under Klopp. Last victory dates all the way back to 2014. Last season, we showed a lack of balls there and that team was there for the taking, just like it is now. Play the game, not the ocassion, and we should win this convincingly.
Listening on the radio last night I heard it described about how we blew the title last season during our blip. The ‘blip’ was when we drew away to our two biggest historic rivals (Neglecting the fact we beat Watford 5-0 in between those two games. Now we think it’s already won, it’s our year, we’re the unbearables, we’re lucky, the FA wants us to win etc, etc, etc.
I’ve yet to meet a Red who is even talking about the title yet. We’ve been through this too many times, I don’t really give two shits what the media and rival fans think of us. At the same time though I’m looking forward to the day we ram it all back down their throats
i’d say our blip was being unfortunate to have to play Man City at the Emirates were once again a Manc Official officiated and gave absolutely every decision to City. No win that day for City and no chance of winning the league… Kompany should have walked and that was not the only contentious decision in that game.
However blip or not, we got 97pts and the only defeat was the one above. This is still the highest points total for any team winning the Champions League and the 3rd highest overall in the PL. So we never threw anything away, we gained old big ears again for the 6th time and proved we can compete. sometimes it’s lessons like that that spurs us on, a bit like Sergi Ramos and his physical assaults in 2018 CL final.