The Champions Still Have Much To Play For

We’ve played two games since I last wrote a piece and they’ve offered two very different performances. Against Aston Villa we were far from being our best, looking slow and ponderous until ‘the grown-ups’ came on in the second-half. Even so, we did enough to win the three points and ensure that our return to Anfield as champions of the Premier League was a winning one. Last night we started the match against Brighton & Hove Albion brilliantly, racing into a two goal lead before taking our foot off the gas and giving the home side the run of their ground for the rest of the first-half. Again, though, we emerged from the Amex with all three points. Having won the title, the Reds could be forgiven for deciding that their season is over. They have reached the holy land, won the thing that we’ve all been dreaming about for three decades, so they’ll still go down in history as the team that did just that regardless of what happens from here on out.

Everyone involved at the club still has something to play for, though, not least of whom is the manager. Given that Liverpool will be making very few, if any, moves in the transfer market this summer, Jürgen Klopp is tasked with having to figure out which players he can continue to use regularly into next season and where he needs to be a bit creative with his solutions. We saw that against Villa with the decision to move Fabinho into the centre-back position when Joe Gomez went off at half-time because of his booking, then we saw it again last night when Neco Williams was asked to play left-back. I thought he played well there, especially considering it was his first start in the league and he’s not a left-sided player. He was offered little-to-no support by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, so I’d be interested to see how he’d get on with Sadio Mané helping him down that side. What else has the squad got to play for?

We Can Set A Virtually Unachievable Points Total

This Liverpool side is one of the best football teams ever to play the game. So far they have dropped just ten points all season. Very few sides manage to achieve that sort of dominance, yet the Reds have done just that. Drawn two, lost two, won the rest. We’ve been going at an insane rate for two seasons in succession, yet we could end up with only the league title to show for it. Don’t get me wrong, the league title is more than good enough for me. Yet the truth is that in twenty years time the league title alone won’t be enough to put this side amongst the pantheon of brilliant Premier League teams. Arsenal’s Invincibles. United’s Treble Winners. City’s Centurions. All of the teams that get talked about had something more than just a title to go along with their achievement and this Liverpool side very much deserves to be in the same bracket. If we can set a new points record then that is exactly where we’ll be.

Like it or not, clubs needs something alongside a title to prove their brilliance. Leicester City’s win in 2015-2016 isn’t spoken about as being one of a brilliant team, but rather a title win that was glorious because of how shocking and unexpected it was. It would be unfair to this Liverpool team for it to be remembered as the side that ended the thirty year wait for a title at Anfield rather than as one of the best sides ever to play the game. The way that they get themselves into the second bracket is by setting a new points record. Gaining one hundred and one points would be good, but if we can get one hundred and four then it’s difficult to see another team getting close to that any time soon. It would pretty much go down in history as the greatest points total ever and it would be thoroughly deserved. With matches against Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle still to come it won’t be easy, but the players need to have their eyes on the prize.

The Golden Boys

Whilst the overall achievement of the team is the most important thing, we can’t forget that both Mo Salah and Alisson Becker are playing to coat their equipment in gold. Both of them have a fight on their hands, with the Brazilian sitting one clean sheet behind Nick Pope and level with Ederson on thirteen games without conceding; a remarkable feat when you consider that he’s missed so many games this season. The match against Burnley presents us with an opportunity to put him level with Pope, should we be able to score and keep a clean sheet at the same time against Sean Dyche’s men. I’m sure if you spoke to Alisson then he’d tell you that we’ve already secured the only prize that he wanted in the form of the Premier League title, but individual honours are important. If they weren’t then it’s fair to say that no one would talk about them, yet they do. I’m sure the goal conceded to Brighton was a frustration for all concerned.

Add to that the fact that Mo Salah is three goals behind Jamie Vardy in the search for the Golden Boot and you can see why he was so annoyed at missing the header in the final minute of the match at the Amex. Having won it outright two season ago and shared it with Sadio Mané and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last time out, the Egyptian will be loath to give it up this time around. It will be a matter of personal honour to him, especially after so many idiots decided to call him a one-season wonder in the wake of his forty-four goals in all competitions in 2017-2018. If the Egyptian can find the back of the net a few more times before the end of the season then you wouldn’t be surprised to see him at least give the Leicester striker a run for his money. It still boggles the mind that there are some Liverpool supporters that don’t give our number eleven the credit that he deserves, but then that’s football fans for you. Like the players, we’re always wanting more.

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