Now Let’s Go And Win It

Given the immense, consistent and ludicrous level of bet-wetting from Arsenal fans over our League Cup tie, last night was a lot of fun. The Gunners absolutely threw their toys out of the pram at the very idea that Liverpool could have had as many as 13 false positives, which we now know wasn’t the case. Instead, a faulty laboratory told the club that there were 13 positive players, only for those positives to be discounted with further testing. Not content with that explanation, Arsenal fans went straight into detective mode, discovering that Kenny Dalglish’s daughter Lynsey is the Commercial Director for the lab that sent back the positives that turned out to be wrong. According to the, rather dim, supporters of the North London club, a Commercial Director has the ability to fake test results in order to get a match postponed. That the postponement was granted before the tests came back and that Liverpool benefitted in no way from getting it postponed wasn’t relevant.

The argument from the Gunners was that the Reds wanted to delay the match in order to get Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah back from the Africa Cup of Nations in time for the rearranged fixture. The fact that there was virtually no chance of either player being back in time and that Jürgen Klopp doesn’t tend to play such senior players in League Cup matches was ignored. It is, of course, a perfect demonstration of the dangers of tribalism in football. We are all guilty of it, of course, but Arsenal fans have taken it to a whole new level in the past couple of weeks. It was, therefore, an absolute pleasure to see the Reds (or Yellows in this case) turn up at the Emirates and batter the Gunners in their own backyard. They celebrated the draw in the first-leg as if it meant that they were guaranteed a trip to Wembley, but they forgot that they are, basically, rubbish. Now it is up to Liverpool to ensure that the defeats of three Premier League clubs on the way to the final aren’t wasted.</p.

Chelsea Might Prove Tough Opponents

Our two games against Chelsea have both ended in draws so far this season. The match at Anfield wasn’t a fair test, given that the sending off of Reece James came at a moment that allowed Thomas Tuchel to get them organised for the second-half. It was one of the first signs of the season that Liverpool aren’t great at playing against ten men, which we also saw play out against Arsenal. The Stamford Bridge match was more akin to what we might expect to see from Liverpool in the final, at least at times, but the team tired as the game wore on. In the end, there’s an argument that we were lucky to escape from West London with a point. Of course, we don’t really know what Chelsea will show up at Wembley on the twenty-seventh of February. In the Roman Abramovich era, it always feels as though they are one moment away from either a trophy or an implosion and now is no different. Thomas Tuchel is a good manager, but it already feels like he’s losing control of the dressing room.

It is easy to forget that finals haven’t gone that well for Jürgen Klopp during his career. The master of the semi-final, he’s won ten of the eleven that he’s managed. The problem has come in the big game, when he’s lost the final of this very competition, as well as the Europa League and two Champions Leagues, once with Borussia Dortmund and once with us. He won the latter in the end, of course, and he also won the two domestic cups in Germany, so there’s no way that we should be writing off our chances on that basis. For the record, Tuchel also won the DFB-Pokal in Germany and lost in the Champions League final with Paris Saint-Germain, only to win it the following season with his current club. Add to that the fact that he lost the FA Cup with Chelsea last season and you can see why it feels as though the League Cup is like tossing a coin. I’d expect the likes of Salah and Mané to come back in for it though, so if they’re on form I’d fancy our chances.

We Want To Re-Claim The Most Wins From Manchester City

Since Liverpool’s first League Cup win in 1981, the Reds have won the trophy at least once a decade. Manchester City had only won it twice before Sheikh Mansour bought the club, but they’ve won it six times since then, including the last four in succession. By doing so, the Cityzens have used their petrol money to draw level with us in terms of the number of times that they’ve won the trophy. In our defeat of Arsenal, we’ve put ourselves in a position whereby we can once again claim the trophy for ourselves, which would be delightful in this era of big money spending by one of the richest clubs on the planet. I understand the reluctance of some to call Man City our rivals and it’s certainly true that they don’t deserve that moniker in the same way the likes of Everton and Manchester United do. That being said, they are the team that is stopping us from winning the league at the moment and it’s likely we’ll come up against them in the Champions League at some point.

Whether we like it or not, they are a rival, so being able to take the League Cup back off them outright is something to be celebrated. It would be a shot across the bow for Pep Guardiola and his billion pound squad; a warning that they don’t get everything their own way no matter how much money they spend. It would also allow us to strike a blow against Chelsea in the race for second-place, presuming as I am that City aren’t going to let their Premier League lead slip from here. Of course, we’ve got Crystal Palace to worry about before that and last night might just act as the perfect preparation for facing Patrick Viera’s men. Whilst Selhurst Park is significantly more intimidating than the Emirates, the noise from the Arsenal fans was impressive until we silenced them and pretty much kept them quiet. Doing the same thing in a different part of London would put us one step closer to a second-place finish and maybe ask question’s of City’s mentality.

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