A typical Premier League season will have countless peaks and troughs. We can only hope that we see far more of the peak variety but when the gloomier moments arrive it is important we also put them into the appropriate context. The first major trough arrived with a bang on Saturday and sure enough the reaction wasn’t great. In fact there was a mini meltdown of sorts after the Watford game but it was nothing compared to the storm that hit following this weekend’s result at Manchester City.
I was fortunate enough in one sense that I was unable to watch the game. Perhaps it was that I knew that we were already a man down and losing at the interval that I had braced myself for the worst but when I did arrive home to see 5-0, I strangely wasn’t really mad at all.
There is a general expectation in my mind probably due to red tinted optimism that I believe that Liverpool can beat anyone on their day. I will stand by this statement no matter what especially with the current side. However, on the other hand I am realistic enough to understand that going through a season undefeated is incredibly hard, so hard in fact that it has only been done once in the Premier League era.
Therefore, if I’m looking at the fixture list and games that could potentially be defeats there are few that stand out more than Man City away. This is also me considering the situation with the team at full strength which they clearly were not on Saturday. Not even accounting for Sadio Mané’s dismissal but the first eleven was missing Adam Lallana, Phil Coutinho, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren and one could even argue that Andy Robertson should be in our strongest line up. Going into that game, that short handed, was never going to be easy.
Am I disappointed? Of course but there are many more key battles ahead. One result at the end of the day is only 3 points. I didn’t witness the apparent capitulation in the second half which is probably helping my positive outlook but the perspective we choose will always define our thoughts and mood and my perspective is simply accepting the situation and moving on. We will have many more much better days.
If anything what bothers me the most is we have already lost our “Top 6 Invincibles” tag that we worked so hard to earn last season. It was always going to be a tough ask to repeat but we can always hope for the best. It was a special achievement to accomplish the feat last year and losing it so early demonstrates the difficulty of the task.
The most appropriate way to describe Saturday for me is as a write off. It happened, it was ugly, and everything that could go wrong did. Yet there aren’t too many teams who are going to go to the Etihad and not come away empty handed let alone if you lose your best player before half time. It is a tired cliche but it really was just one of those days…
Moving forward the landscape still looks as brilliant as it did prior to the international break. The return of Coutinho is going to upset many but I am sure we won’t be too concerned when he starts taking over games again. To have a team that was already looking deadly going forward, the addition of a player of Coutinho’s calibre is mouth watering. Just think back to those games in pre-season!
That is not even to speak of Adam Lallana’s eventual comeback who for me was up there with Mané last season as our most integral player. Then we have poor Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has taken two massive beatings in a row but I am convinced still that Jurgen Klopp will transform him into a top class squad player for us. He has said and done all the right things so far and his attitude most importantly seems first class.
Finally we have the ever growing reputation of Ben Woodburn who despite a terrific pre-season hasn’t yet got a look in for the Reds this season. However, his exploits for Wales against Austria and Moldova have catapulted the youngster into a massive global spotlight and maybe Klopp will finally feel ready to unleash him on the Premier League on a more regular basis. It certainly is a nice situation to have a player with that much talent that we don’t have to rush but if he’s ready to make an impact then you know Klopp will give him a chance.
There we have it then. A gloomy weekend it was for most but as usual I am trying to look into the near future and see the golden skies that lie ahead. Lest we forget too that we have the not so small fact of Champions League football returning to Anfield on Wednesday. Not only that but we face Sevilla who I still strongly believe we owe them more than one after that controversial Europa League final in 2016. If that doesn’t get you excited for the future then nothing will.
I already cannot wait for that famous anthem to be played… Bring it on!