Liverpool are still walking a tightrope between being a scary proposition for the opposition and a scary proposition for their own fans…


“I’VE seen things you people wouldn’t believe.

“Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

They did my head in for a bit on Saturday. They keep doing my head in a bit.

They are unbeaten in 13 league games and haven’t lost a league home game since October 29, 2022. That game is the only home league game they have lost in front of a mass gathering of humanity since the end of the 2016-17 season.

They did my head in for a bit on Saturday. They keep doing my head in a bit.

I think the thing is they are on the one hand close to touching the heavens with real regularity, but on the other still aren’t genuinely convincing, there still constantly feels like there is too much of a tightrope being walked.

I suppose what we need to ask ourselves, what I need to ask myself, is what needs to happen to believe them to be genuinely convincing.

It’s not straightforward. I wish it were just recruitment. I’d like them to confirm three more transfers between now and Friday September 1 and am happy for one of those to be in January, but even then I don’t believe it’ll settle me entirely.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the side that wins the title, the manner of it, Covid and so on. One of the issues that it throws up isn’t that it was a perfect football team, but that it was a relentless and inevitable one – but only in hindsight. During many of those matches I was having kittens and then afterwards able to go “no idea what I was worried about”.

At the minute, I can list exactly what I was worried about. And yet this doesn’t quite correspond. Liverpool get away with murder and/or make dreadful mistakes leading to goals and/or spurn chances at Craven Cottage, St. Mary’s twice, St. James’s Park, Bramall Lane, Villa Park and Selhurst Park in 2019 alone.

At Anfield, they concede daft early ones to Tottenham and Bournemouth in the title-winning season, should concede first to Wolves and have a very squeaky finish against Brighton after going down to 10 men.

As ever, what it feels like matters as much as the actual reality – I believe that internally as well as externally. The fact is that you could describe the 2019 incarnation as steely. That option hasn’t been available in 2023 and that isn’t because they sold Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.

It could be that the days of steel are over in general across the division, or just for now, or just for us for now, or it could be that we are on the road back to them. I’m unsure, really I am.

But regardless, another issue that 2019 team throws up is that basically nobody ever did it like that and nobody ever will again. So the truth is that Liverpool now need to not only need to live up to a team that your parents saw that swept Europe in moustachioed brilliance, or one led by John Barnes which changed the game forever in this country.

They also now need to live up to the one we are right to remember in an idealised way (because they took 110 from 114 and won the European Cup) in one sense, with some of these lads in, which feels like the only way to do it.

Because it is the only way we did it. But that is the only time it was done that way by anyone.

You see the bind.

I don’t want them to do my head in, but then again getting away with murder with a disallowed goal and then getting away with murder after going one down, and then getting away with a wobbly 20 after losing it on halfway, over and over again, will reasonably lead to heads being done in.

I need to see something on the grass. I remember it teeming down at Molineux on December 21, 2018, and I remember seeing something on the grass and knowing what was coming next. Just knowing.

In the meantime, we need to enjoy the journey to that point. Gasp at Luis Diaz and thrill to Dominik Szoboszlai. We need to enjoy whatever on earth it is that the brilliant Diogo Jota actually is. Virgil van Dijk could still be the best one, you know. Alisson Becker is.

I write this for me as much as I write it for you. They did my head in for a bit on Saturday. They keep doing my head in a bit.

But imagine when they stop, what they could be capable of.

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