With a jam packed schedule to come in April, Liverpool must put substance over style in their search for results across all competitions…
THE last few days of calm before the storm, then.
International break over, all eyes on the weekend. All eyes on the month ahead, in truth. It’s a big one, isn’t it?
This season is already memorable for a whole host of reasons and yet the realm of possibility remains as wide as it’s ever been. One trophy in the cabinet, another three still to be won.
Twelve wins from a possible 13 in 43 days, a Champions League quarter-final to look forward to and a gap of 12 points reduced to just one at the Premier League summit. We’ve gone from knocking at the door to ripping it down. It is a quite frankly ridiculous level of form and consistency from a team that have given us memories to last a lifetime.
There’s a reason Pep Guardiola described us as a pain in the arse and, my god, are they a pain too. These are far and away the two best teams in the country and they go head-to-head twice this month in two different competitions. That only tells half the story and tells you all you need to know about the intensity of what’s to come.
Catch your breath if you can. The real business begins now.
The next month is as much a battle of quality as it is one of who can hold their nerve. It is a time that demands composure and clarity, the voices of those who have dined at this table before. Succeeding on all fronts will require near perfection, but that’s what playing at this level demands. There is no margin for error at the top.
From here on in, everyone represents a potential banana skin. Every set of opposition players and fans will be desperate to knock us back, but this side have shown their willingness to fight. It is a mentality that seeps down to all levels of the club and a characteristic as key to this title challenge as any.
A major part of winning titles is possessing the ability to grind out results. A boring 1-0 here, a scrappy goal there. A bit of luck at times too. It’s what every great team needs in their locker. That we have rediscovered that trait has been the key to our success, just like it was in 2019-20.
We fought our way past Wolves and were made to dig deep at Turf Moor. Both were games that came down to sheer graft and Liverpool have done their fair share of grafting. Substance rather than style, one bruiser to another.
We’re now at the business end of the season and it’s all about points on the board. Jurgen Klopp will know more than anyone that April is a month of battles. Little care will be given to how the job gets done.
Having now returned from international duty, the players will be relishing the challenge. Their reaction to the League Cup triumph tells us so. This isn’t a side resting on their laurels, but one intent on delivering more.
Mohamed Salah has already been pictured back at the AXA training centre and will be more eager than ever to win silverware after World Cup heartbreak with Egypt, while Sadio Mane returns full of confidence having sealed his country’s journey to Qatar. To have both firing on all cylinders will be a major boost.
At this stage in the season though, it becomes less about reliance on the big names and more about the entire squad. Rotation will be required and contributions from the bench could be crucial. Arsenal was the perfect example, and we’ll need the same again before the month is out.
Come the end of April, there can be no room for ‘what ifs’. We must attack each fixture with everything we’ve got, then see where we are in May. Dig the heels in and keep applying the pressure.
Since the turn of the year that’s exactly what The Reds have done. They have been in sublime form, going about their business with minimal fuss and waiting for a window of opportunity. Now the real business begins.
Beat Watford on Saturday and we go top of the league before Manchester City travel to Turf Moor. One game at a time, one step at a time, one competition at a time then, you and me, we’ll have this talk again.
Until then, enjoy the ride.