Being one of the Big Clubs is a great blessing, but it carries a great curse. By football law, all Big Clubs must take their turn at being the Crisis Club.
Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham have all borne the mantle with great stoicism this season. Chelsea cleverly got their turn out of the way before the season started. Manchester City have bypassed the process by being really, really, insanely good – but at what cost to their very soul?
With Arsenal now good, and Manchester United and Spurs accidentally winning some games against rubbish teams despite themselves, Liverpool must take their turn in the spotlight having won only three of their last nine games – one of which was against Huddersfield and therefore barely counts to be honest.
But as Liverpool’s rivals have already shown, Crisis Club status comes and Crisis Club status goes. Here are the reasons for Liverpool fans to remain cheerful.
Liverpool started the Premier League season with six straight wins over West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Leicester, Tottenham and Southampton. In the five games since they have faced Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal. It’s not surprising the results have dropped off slightly; it would have been insane for them not to.
Liverpool’s next five league games are against Fulham, Watford, Everton, Burnley and Bournemouth. This year’s Liverpool may be slightly less fun than last year’s, but they are tougher. Duller, but tougher. They are yet to drop a point to anyone outside the top five, and it’s not much of a leap to expect 15 points from that run. Then it’s Manchester United at home, Wolves away and Newcastle at home before potentially season-defining back-to-back games with Arsenal and Manchester City either side of the new year.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The point is, Liverpool are about to win a whole bunch of games and everything will be fine. Either that, or they won’t; then there really will be a crisis and, fair play, everyone can go mental.
Sure, there have been a few frustrating draws along the way, but Liverpool have completed the first part of becoming a genuinely great side. They have made their home a fortress. In previous seasons some rubbish team with no business winning at Anfield would turn up, and it would usually be Crystal Palace, and they would inexplicably win. So ingrained was this that even avoiding a home defeat to West Brom was cause for great celebration.
No longer. They haven’t lost a Premier League or Champions League game at Anfield since April 2017.
CL fate in own hands
Let’s not sugarcoat last night’s shambolic Champions League defeat in Belgrade. It was very bad, and pissed away much of the hard-won advantage gained in the victory over PSG.
But in a group containing two high-quality rivals, Liverpool still have their fate in their own hands – and will do even if they lose at PSG. Even then a two-goal win over Napoli will be enough to progress even if the Italians get their three points from Red Star.
Klopp’s solved far worse
After nine games of last season, Liverpool were ninth having just been absolutely spanked around Wembley by a freewheeling Tottenham. The Reds had conceded 16 goals in those nine games. As well as the thrashing at Spurs they’d been stuffed 5-0 by Manchester City and dropped points to Watford, Burnley and Newcastle. They won 10 of their next 14 league games, solved their defensive disorganisation, secured a top-four finish and charged to the Champions League final.
A crappy Champions League group stage result and a few draws against really good teams is nothing.
Defence still superb
Twelve months on from being not very good at all, Liverpool’s first-choice defence is now the envy of Europe. They’ve conceded five goals in 11 league games. Nothing is f*cked, you’re being very un-Dude.
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