A Big Couple of Weeks for Liverpool

I have long been of the opinion that the Liverpool squad this season is the best that it has ever been under Jürgen Klopp and the manner in which we’ve advanced to the next stage of the Europa League with relative ease certainly seems to back that up. There is no doubt that we need to be lucky with injuries, which the manager himself has acknowledged, but as long as they don’t all happen in the same area at the same time, as has happened in previous years, I think we’ve got enough depth to cope. The young kids aside, there is barely anyone in the squad that I would be concerned about starting Premier League games. There were some slight worries around Caoimhin Kelleher and they may yet prove to be correct against better opponents, but I was really pleased to see him called upon a number of times in the game against LASK and, more importantly, see him rise up to the challenge. If we’re going to cope with the loss of Alisson Becker then Kelleher is going to be crucial in the coming weeks.

Similarly, the manner of Kostas Tsimikas’ performances of late have been a relief. The Greek Scouser is not as good as Andy Robertson, but the fact that he is our second-choice left-back means that he was never going to be. What he needs to be is good enough to perform when called upon and few had faith that he could even manage that. His performances against Manchester City and LASK show that he is better than many people think. I’m actually of the belief that people would be a lot more respectful of him if he didn’t look quite so dopey. Regardless, he has put in performances that have allowed us all to breathe out a little bit, safe in the knowledge that he can do what needs to be done and hold the fort for Robertson’s return. Those that find it stressful to cope with him in the side obviously didn’t have to sit through some of the left-backs that I’ve had to watch over the years. Left-back has always been something of a problem position for us and few teams have a better one than him right now.

Winnable Games

I want to win the Premier League title. I would shake hands on any silverware right now, but I am mostly after the title and the celebration that we didn’t get to enjoy when we won it at the end of 2019-2020. If we don’t win it then I will at least be able to console myself with the fact that Liverpool 2.0 is well ahead of schedule to even be involved in the fight. Mainly, though, I want to win it and cement Jürgen Klopp’s tenure as one of the best in British football, consider the number of titles he’d have won if he wasn’t up against a nation state with 115 charges hanging over it. If we are to win the title then you have to take all three points in the games that you should be successful in. Fulham held Arsenal to a draw, but they have otherwise been unconvincing so far this season. They lost to Everton, but the Blues had more than enough chances to take the game away from them before the London club eventually scored. We need to make sure we’re not quite so profligate in front of goal.

Trips to Sheffield United and Crystal Palace won’t be easy, but they’re not the sort of fixtures that teams with pretensions to win the title would drop points in. Yes, it is three games in a week and that is a lot to cope with, but the other teams were up against are going through the same thing and they don’t have the sort of squad that we’ve got to cope with the congestion. I think that what happens over the next couple of weeks will tell us a lot about exactly where this Liverpool side is in terms of a potential title challenge. Having got the points that we’ve already got, we would have to have a pretty spectacular collapse in order to miss out on the top four, but do we have what it takes to keep pace with Manchester City and Arsenal? We obviously have in seasons gone by and I’m reasonably confident that most of the squad has the muscle memory do it again this time around, but these next three games will soon tell us if I’m right. The points dropped to Luton mean we can’t be cocky.

United & Arsenal Will be a Challenge

It would be easy to be dismissive of Manchester United this season. The Red Devils haven’t looked even remotely convincing in Europe under Erik Ten Hag, if all you do is look at the table for their Champions League group. They sit bottom of Group A with four points, their progression to the knockout stages hanging by a thread. When you look a bit deeper, though, you see that they travelled to all of Bayern Munich, Copenhagen and Galatasaray and scored three goals apiece. That isn’t something that a poor team does. You could absolutely say that they’ve had hard lines and I don’t think Jürgen Klopp, his back room team or his players will be taking three points against them for granted. The fact that we were so poor last season and yet still spanked them means that many supporters will be feeling cocky heading into it, but I’m not convinced that it will be the cakewalk that some people will have it down as. Win the three games prior to their arrival and it takes the pressure of the game against our fierce rivals.

Then there is the small matter of Arsenal. Our preparation for the arrival of the Gunners will be disrupted somewhat by the fact that we are playing West Ham in the League Cup quarter-final in the midweek after the visit of United, with the manager once again likely to use our squad depth in order to try to progress in a competition that has opened up nicely for us. On the one hand, I haven’t been overly impressed with Arsenal this season and imagine they’ll struggle as the season progresses. On the other hand, that is somewhat churlish of me considering the fact that they sit at the top of the table and have already beaten 115 Charges FC, so taking them lightly would be an error. If we can come through the next five league matches with 15 points, though, we will sit at the top of the table for Christmas. It would put pressure on Pep Guardiola’s men who would be chasing us for once and mean that we head into the new year in fine spirits. It is a huge month for Liverpool.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *