It’s been a bit of a week, wouldn’t you say? Plenty of Liverpool supporters, even some that I have a huge amount of respect for, began to lose their bottle as the season got underway. Criticism of the owners and the transfer strategy employed by the club wasn’t hard to find, not only on social media but also on the lips of fans around the world. Having pulled out of the chance to sign Timo Werner, it looked as though Fenway Sports Group were also going to skimp and save rather than spend a seemingly measly £30 million on Thiago Alcantara. Why on earth wouldn’t they take the chance of signing such a world-class player? That he came on for the Reds during the second-half of the match against Chelsea tells you that they didn’t, but impatience seems to be the new watchword when it comes to Liverpool supporters and signings, which is frustrating in the extreme.
75 – Half-time substitute Thiago completed more passes (75) than any Chelsea player managed in the entire match. Since full passing data is available for the Premier League (2003-04), his 75 successful passes are the most by a player who played a maximum of 45 minutes. Control. pic.twitter.com/UvHfrw1ggN
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 20, 2020
Our trip to Stamford Bridge filled me with a sense of joy. Chelsea fans would doubtless point to the fact that we didn’t score until they were down to ten men, but only the most myopic of their supporters will claim that they were even really in the game before that point. The Reds were in complete control of the match pretty much from kick-off and it always seemed like a matter of when, rather than if, we’d put the ball in the back of the net. The sending off was surely a sign of just how desperate the Chelsea defence was to stop us from attacking Kepa. In the end, it was the goalkeeper’s own nervousness that put the game beyond doubt, whilst the man between the sticks for us lacked nerves to the point that he waited until Jorginho had kicked the ball before jumping for the penalty. It means we’re now six points from six and picking up where we left off.
Trust The System
Those that wish to criticise Fenway Sports Group for their ownership of the club do so whilst picking up on the little things that the owners have done wrong and wilfully ignoring the massive things that they’ve done right. Whether it be the new Main Stand, the development of a new training facility or something as simple as giving Jürgen Klopp the manager’s job, the American owners have made plenty of moves during their tenure to ensure that the club is heading in the right direction. They have, of course, made mistakes. The attempt to put the ticket prices up that led to a mass walkout of Anfield is an obvious example. Yet when it’s been pointed out to them that they’re making a mistake they haven’t been stubborn and refused to acknowledge their errors, instead doing whatever is necessary to make things right.
Remember how lucky we are to support this great club. We’ve seen things you’ll never see.
— Trevenderson (@Trevski_LFC) August 30, 2020
Whilst many were disappointed to see Timo Werner slip through our grasp, it is now clear that there is a reason why that happened. When the striker was leaving RB Leipzig, both his release clause and his wage demands were high during a time of huge uncertainty thanks to the global pandemic. The club was unwilling to invest such a huge amount of money with zero inkling of when an income would return in terms of ticket sales. That both Bayern Munich and Wolverhampton Wanderers have been more flexible over the payment terms for Thiago and Diogo Jota is why both of those deals have been able to happen. It amazes me that so many people still haven’t learn to trust Michael Edwards, his team and the system that Liverpool have put in place. When toys were being thrown out of the pram, there was still a month of the transfer window left. Trust the system.
Can We Retain Our Title?
I’m writing this piece before Manchester City play Wolves, so I have no idea how Pep Guardiola’s men have got on. I do know that I’d far rather have played Leeds at home in our first game of the season than Nuno Espírito Santo’s side at Molineux. I do believe, though, that the Cityzens will be our main rivals again this season, seeing nothing in Chelsea’s performance to convince me that Frank Lampard will suddenly make them click. I’m not even going to mention what’s going on at Old Trafford, given that Ole Gunnar Solskjær is far from the right man for the job. Plenty of pundits and opposition supporters have already written us off this season, which is exactly what Jürgen Klopp and his charges like to see. That we made Chelsea look so ordinary and blunted their superb attack, despite playing a defensive midfielder at centre-back, was excellent news.
I N H O
How good was this fella today? pic.twitter.com/h5kPrBTAgA
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 20, 2020
It doesn’t mean anything, though. We’re still far too early in the campaign to be making any sort of bold predictions. Beat Arsenal next weekend, however, and we’ll be nine from nine having faced the toughest promoted team and two of our rivals for the Champions League places; not a bad situation to be in at all. We also finally have a squad that will allow the manager to take the domestic cups semi-seriously, which will please some supporters no end. Despite the desire of some to belittle FSG’s achievements, it is their stewardship that has put us into the position that we’re in. The moves for Thiago and Jota show a sensible combination of looking to win things in the short-term whilst also planning for the future. There will be plenty of challenges in the future for the owners and we should hold them to account when necessary. It’s the battles we don’t need to fight that I want people to move on from, though.