The Reds Have Got The Big Mo

Premier League seasons aren’t won over one or two games. When Liverpool won the Champions League in 2005, rival fans said that it proved nothing, that it was a flash in the pan. Their logic was that titles are won over 38 games, with the most consistent side being the one that lifts the silverware. It was a critique that stung at the time, but of course it was true. Whilst that win was won that set us on the road to becoming one of the best teams in the country, there was no doubt that the Liverpool team that defeated AC Milan in the final did so because the stats were aligned, rather than because they were the greatest side in Europe. This season, of course, things are very different. According to the ELO Club Ratings, Liverpool are the best team in in the world right now. Our rating is 2025 at the time of writing, putting us eight points clear of Manchester City. That doesn’t mean that we’re guaranteed to win anything at all, but it means we’re well-place to be able to take the game to Pep Guardiola’s side both at home and in Europe.

Make no mistake, the fact that Liverpool are even keeping pace with Manchester City is phenomenal. Our Premier League rivals are one of the richest clubs in the world and are being used as a sports-washing outfit for the improvement of the reputation of an entire country, complete with its financial backing. That we are anywhere near their level is proof positive that Jürgen Klopp and his players are at the very top of their game, so it is little wonder that the ELO ratings view them so favourably. Whatever happens from here, this has been a successful season for the Reds. It might not feel like it if we only end up with the League Cup to our name, but with the money they have spent and the quality that they have in their team, Manchester City should be winning every trophy that there is to win. That we have already won one and are pushing them close in the others means that we’ve achieved something pretty much no other team on the continent is able to do. That being said, right now we’ve got momentum on our side…

The Run-In Could Be Era Defining

Last week, I wrote about how Liverpool fans should be unapologetic when getting excited about the possibility of winning the quadruple. In that piece, I readily admitted that I don’t think that we’ll actually do it, simply because there are too many games involved in getting it over the line. As I’ve already stated, Manchester City should win every competition that they enter every year but have failed to do so, which indicates the size of the task at hand. Even so, right now anything is possible and we have one of the most important things in football on our side: momentum. When you win, you want to win again. When you lose, your limbs feel heavier and it seems impossible that you can even run, let alone kick a ball. Right now, Liverpool players must be feeling light as feathers. Whilst we lost against Inter Milan, we also won the tie, meaning that it was an evening-out process. Right now, we’re heading into the run-in for the season and what could be an era-defining campaign, so why not embrace it and enjoy it whilst we can?

If Liverpool are able to win the Premier League, there’s an argument that it will be the manager’s finest ever achievement. We were 14 points behind Manchester City not so long ago, albeit with two games-in-hand. As many people have said, though, games-in-hand are not as good as points on the board, with no guarantee that you win them. Now we sit just one point behind them, having been able to take advantage of every slip up that Guardiola’s men have made of late. We have put the pressure on them and worked hard to keep them honest, which is something that nobody associated with Manchester City is used to. We have worked hard to ensure that if they win the title, and they very easily could do just that, then they will have had to pour everything they’ve got into doing so. We’re giving them nothing for free, nor should we. We might not win everything, but there’s no doubt that we could, which is almost as impressive.

Two Different Types Of Victory

One of the things that has seen us go to within a point of Manchester City in the Premier League is the manner in which we’ve dug deep to secure two very different types of victory over the last couple of games. Brighton & Hove Albion managed to take a point from us at Anfield, despite the fact that we were 2-0 up at half-time. Heading to their place, the players might have been forgiven for being in their own heads a wee bit over whether they could do what was needed to see them game out. When we went at half-time 1-0 up, that was even more questionable. The lads knew that they were a cut above Graham Potter’s men, however, and kept their heads in order to ensure that they saw it out for a massive three points. It was a match that we largely controlled, giving Brighton very few chances of victory. That is hardly surprising when you consider how defensively solid we’ve been of late, conceding just two goals in 13.5 hours of football in the Premier League, conceding a mere 25 shots on target during that time.

Arsenal, meanwhile, came at us with plenty of bluster but not much actual threat. Their fans might believe that they dominated the match, but there was no point at which I thought that the Reds were actually in trouble. Indeed, the best chance that the Gunners had came from a Thiago through-ball, such is the extent that the defence had everything well under control. They reminded me of Inter Milan, who I described as ‘pesky’ after the Champions League second-leg match against them. Unlike Milan, though, Arsenal couldn’t keep it up for 90 minutes and didn’t have an absolute worldy of a goal to get their nose in front. In many ways, Gabriel Martinelli was the personification of Arsenal’s performance: lots of busyness but no end product. Liverpool, meanwhile, did what title winning teams always do: allowed the opposition to wear itself out and then showed its class when needed. The Reds have got momentum heading into our game with Watford. Win that and we might end up playing Man City as the team at the top. Bring it on.

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