A Liverpool supporter’s take on how high the tensions are when our team is part of a Premier League title race…


I’M on the road again.

Previous emails have been penned from far-flung places such as Split and Warsaw.

This one is from Edinburgh. I’m The Anfield Wrap’s Michael Palin, albeit on a much smaller budget.

I like to visit the local grounds, though I didn’t get to see Hearts’ Tynecastle, but a climb up ‘Arthur’s Seat’ — the long-dead volcano which sits on high to the east of the city centre — reveals Easter Rd, the home of Hibernian. Cities with two huge clubs. You can’t beat it.

At time of writing, Hearts sit in third place (you can guess the top two) while their neighbours are in seventh, a mere 37 points behind the league leaders. There’s also a small goal difference issue of 53 to take into account. Champions League football seems a bit of a pipe dream in Leith.

Scottish football is weird, though. Look further north where Aberdeen have just appointed Neil Warnock. It’s his 20th managerial post. I suspect the interview consisted of him sitting down and saying ‘Hello, I’m Neil Warnock’ and the Dons deciding that they’ve tried everything else.

I mention this to highlight that so many clubs are way off where they’d like to be that their targets are constantly re-drawn. For many just ‘not losing to the other lot’ is the height of ambition. Football fans are by their very nature, cynical and downbeat and our lot are no different. Every club has a good reason to worry.

On Saturday, Liverpool lost Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota and Darwin Nunez to injury. Alisson Becker, Dominik Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander-Arnold are already on the treatment table, though there’s talk of the magnificent Magyar making the League Cup final squad.

Yet Liverpool managed to bear those injuries, beat a competitive Brentford, with top dangerman Michael Oliver in tow, and go four points clear of Manchester City by Saturday night. I mean, that’s a good day.

“Aye, here we are with problems at the top of the league.”

I mean, I get it. Massive grocks jumping on Diogo’s knee isn’t great for morale, nor is the sight of another referee letting things like that go, and it’s easy to get het up with a commentary team of Joe Cole (‘Brentford are comfortable’) and Jermaine Jenas telling you black is white, but it’s also important to live in the moment.

Liverpool are top of the league after 25 games and in every competition. Better that than being 37 points off the pace or seeing Neil Warnock as some sort of messiah.


This is a problem with tense and intense support. Remember that Manchester United game when Dirk Kuyt scored a hat-trick from the combined distance of about three yards? The Reds led 3-0 up until the 92 minute when Hernandez got one back. Enjoy the moment? Ironically cheer the consolation goal? Not me.

Head in hands on The Kop, gibbering “they’re going to do it again” to no one in particular. I vaguely recall looking to the skies, expecting a plague of locusts followed by an inevitable postponement. There must have been about a minute to play.

It’s the same when watching old games on telly. Many of us can’t re-watch the 1986 FA Cup final goals. I still can’t shake the fear of being a goal down. I’m still nervous about it a full 38 years later.

I’m trying to do better. Liverpool won the weekend. We won it by two points. That should be enough. I shouldn’t be staring at the league table, rejoicing in the fact that Liverpool cannot finish any lower than 18th place. If Everton lose tonight we need a point to avoid relegation. It’s February. I know! I checked! Be of good cheer, Karl.

We worry too much.

True, injuries are a concern but we have a full, fuller squad now. Three months ago I would have sobbed at Trent’s absence. Now it barely registers. We got past Andy Robertso being out and Mo Salah going away, but we’re still here.

Stop and smell the roses?

In 2017, I was on an AFQ Football show with Andy Heaton, Jay McKenna and Adam Melia. One of the questions concerned how we’d like to win the next league. By a mile or on the last day with a deflection off Bernardo Silva’s arse? I went for the former, citing a start of 30 straight wins. I couldn’t handle the tension. Not at my age.

Of course, in 2020 we did just that. Our win at Carrow Road put us 25 points clear in the league. 25! Surely I was more relaxed then?

Hah! I was a nervous wreck.

I wish it wasn’t this way. I wish I could enjoy going four points clear with a cup final around the corner, but this is a support which can’t rest. I’m trying really hard to relax, but not being nervous makes me nervous.

We won the weekend. We won, they didn’t. Keep that up and…

No, I can’t think of that. Yet.

Win midweek too, Reds.



Download The Anfield Wrap app for podcasts, video and writing all in one place…


Recent Posts: