Is Liverpool’s Season Back On Track? Wednesday Night Will Tell

Fun when you score nine goals, isn’t it? I was at Anfield on Saturday afternoon and said to my friend Andy, who I was there with, that we would absolutely batter Bournemouth if we had the right mentality. Twelve minutes into the game and I said, “It’s so nice when you can go to the match and know within 15 minutes that it’s going to be a stress-free afternoon.” That, of course, is exactly what we got. It would have been nice enough if we’d beaten them three or four nil, but to score nine goals was proof that talk of our demise may have been greatly exaggerated. Bournemouth are not a very good football team, of course. It is only right that that is acknowledged when engaging in any sort of discussion about the result. Yet it was the mentality that I was most pleased with, given the fact that the Reds were at it right from the off. Having been a little worried about what our plan was to score against Manchester United, my mind was put at ease by the 90th minute.

As a Fantasy Football player, I can’t tell you how annoyed I was that Mo Salah wasn’t involved in any of the goals. I correctly predicted that we’d enjoy a few goalscoring opportunities against the Cherries, captaining the Egyptian as a result. That he didn’t get any points other than ones for his appearance and a clean sheet was offensive. Yet as a Liverpool supporter, I’m delighted that Salah wasn’t part of our goal-scoring exploits. Though I’d have done exceptionally well with my Fantasy Football score if he’d been responsible for all nine goals, the pervading sense that we’re dependent on him to score would have spoilt my fun. Instead, teams now have to look out for the Egyptian King, as well as figure out ways to deal with Luis Diaz, stop Harvey Elliott from getting on the ball and be concerned about the arrival of Fabio Carvalho. Perhaps most importantly of all was the return to form of Roberto Firmino, who was exceptional throughout. Lovely stuff.

Sports-washing Newcastle Present A Stern Challenge

There are two types of people in the world: those that think that Liverpool’s performance on Saturday is a sign that our season is back on track and those that look at the Premier League table and say that we have no chance of winning the title. In truth, the answer is somewhere in the middle of those two possibilities, given the fact that we have to play Manchester City twice before May comes around. The oil-rich, sports-washing plaything of a murderous regime have already dropped points once so far in the campaign, coming against fellow sports-washers owned by a murderous regime, Newcastle United. The fact that the Magpies are the next club on Liverpool’s agenda means that we have a pretty immediate opportunity to do something that Pep Guardiola’s men didn’t and beat them. The fact that City have got Nottingham Forest, of course, means that even if we do get three points, we’ll still be five points behind the side most likely to win the title.

Newcastle’s Saudi owners have yet to spend huge amounts of money at the north-east club. It is possible that they’re too busy executing members of the LGBTQ+ community or imprisoning women for sending tweets to have worried about which players the team has signed. Regardless, they have only just started to flex their financial muscles with the purchase of Alexander Isak and the news that ‘two more signings’ will come in before the window shuts. The sad reality is that sports-washing works, at least in the sense of the money being spent to bring in players that will improve Newcastle over time. Eddie Howe won’t be the manager forever, so it is important that Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp make hay whilst that particular sun is shining. The Geordies will be challenging for the top honours before too long, so we need to prove the doubters wrong and get more silverware in the cabinet now, lest all trophies head to one sports-washing regime or the other.

We Need To Keep The Wins Coming

Scoring nine goals without reply was great fun. It was lovely to be inside Anfield on a sunny Saturday afternoon and celebrate goal after goal, wondering if we would be able to do the impossible and score a tenth. As fun as that was, though, it will all be for nought if we drop points against Newcastle United on Wednesday night. This is a long season, with all sorts of things likely to happen between now and May. The World Cup in the middle of the season will have an influence on the outcome of the title race in ways that no one can predict, so we need to do what we can to stick on the coattails of Man City for the next few months. Our start to the season was awful, relatively speaking, but as long as we don’t fall too far behind the leading pack then there is still everything to play for. The problem is, we’ve got a history of scoring big before struggling to score in our next game, as evidenced by the 7-0 defeat of Crystal Palace in December 2020.

That was followed up by a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion and a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United. After that, we lost 1-0 to Southampton, drew 0-0 with Manchester United and lost 1-0 to Burnley. That was the start of our horrendous run of home defeats and came at a time when we were suffering and injury crisis in one department. There were no crowds in the grounds at the time, but other than that the similarities to now run the risk of becoming unbearable if we’re not careful. Jürgen Klopp’s statement that he was ‘wrong’ over not signing a midfielder suggests we’re looking to rectify our problems in the middle of the park, so we all need to hope that it’s not too little, too late. Wednesday night’s game presents us with the chance not only to get one over on a team that is likely to be challenging us in the future, but also to ensure that we don’t do what we did the last time we enjoyed such a large scoreline against another team. It is vital that we win.

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