My Hopes For The Season

Sometimes the football season comes around far too quickly. On other occasions, it feels like forever since you’ve seen the lads kick a ball in anger. Because of the European Championship in the summer, I’m genuinely not sure how I feel about Liverpool’s campaign getting underway on Saturday. Everything feels a bit strange, as though the pandemic, which robbed us of a title celebration and the ability to go to Anfield, has shifted the footballing landscape. Given the sheer incompetence of the government in charge of this country, I’m not entirely convinced that we’ll actually get to enjoy the football before the country starts getting put into lockdowns again. Perhaps that’s why everything feels quite alien to me, meaning that I’m not quite as excited about the approaching Premier League season as I usually am. I have adopted my standard policy of barely watching any of the pre-season matches and definitely not reading anything into the results.

Whether we like it or not, though, the season starts on Saturday. The Reds are visiting Norwich City at Carrow Road, which means that the usual dismissal of a newly promoted club has begun in earnest. It happened with Leeds United when we played them on the first day of our 2020-2021 campaign, so it should surprise nobody that certain quarters are already acting as though Liverpool have won the three points and it doesn’t matter which team the manager selects. As those that attended Anfield on Sunday afternoon oohed and aahed over Harvey Elliott, voices could be heard saying ‘he’d be fine to start against Norwich’. Whilst I’d agree in the sense that he seems to more than capable and an exciting young player, they meant it in a manner that dismissed the Canaries rather than praised him. My hope is very much that he gets to make an impression on the Premier League this season, but what else am I hoping for from the 2021-2022 campaign?

A Title Win

It seems like an obvious thing to say, but I’d very much like Liverpool to win the Premier League title this season. The Reds are being dismissed in some quarters, in spite of the fact that they’re the only side that has been able to keep up with Manchester City in the past. Our last campaign was an anomaly, such is the extent to which injuries to keep players in the same position completely derailed what the manager was trying to do. I’m not saying that that won’t happen again, because we all know that it could, but it’s definitely less likely. The fact that we’re being under-estimated in some quarters, including by the bookmakers, is absolutely fine with me. At the time of writing, Manchester City are the 4/6 favourites, Chelsea coming in at 9/2 and the Reds are 5/1. This is a team that thrives on defying expectations and boasts a manager that loves to prove people wrong.

The delight of finally winning the Premier League title at the end of the 2019-2020 season was obviously tempered by the fact that no one got to be in the ground to see it happen and we couldn’t celebrate. Perhaps the same thing will happen again this time around, but at least the vaccine means that there is a chance that life can get back to normal. These boys deserve to be on the receiving end of a parade like the city has never seen before, the kind of thing that puts the one for the Champions League win a couple of years ago into the shade. On top of that, it would be lovely to get the better of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side, which continues to play with a cheat code and gets away pretty much scot-free from the press, the powers that be and opposition fans. Defying expectations is a Liverpool tradition, so managing it again this time out would be glorious.

Winning Another Trophy With It

I could write about wanting to see Jordan Henderson stay fit for the season, or Thiago Alcantara playing the player we all thought that we were signing. I’d love to wax lyrical about this being Harvey Elliott’s breakthrough season or about how Virgil van Dijk’s return to fitness after a long layoff will be a joy to watch. All of those things are true and I’m excited to see them play out, but the reality is that I want this team to win silverware. This is a group that has played some stunning football in the past few years and was dealt blow after blow last time out, so nothing would give me more pleasure than to see them lift as many trophies as possible. There’s an argument that this is their final season together, with at least one of the front three likely to depart next summer and the midfielders all approaching an age that means they’ll soon need to be replaced.

With that in mind, I want to see at least one other cup added to the Premier League trophy. The dream would be the European Cup, obviously, but I’d quite like us to win the FA Cup too, if I’m honest. I don’t really care that much about the domestic trophies, but it would be great to see the manager win one of them because it will prove all of the naysayers wrong. Those that constantly criticise Jürgen Klopp for his team selection, happily ignoring the fact that we’ve regularly faced Premier League opposition whilst Manchester City have played the Dog & Duck in every round for the past five years. It would also be one in the eye for the Liverpool supporters out there that regularly underplay the strength of our squad, given the fact that it actually looks really good heading into this season. Mostly, though, I’d just like to have a year unencumbered by the problems of a global health crisis.

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