This Season, Liverpool Are In The Results Business

My main take away from the match last night was that it was a strange one. The Reds were rampant, controlling the game and passing the ball around for fun but never really looking particularly threatening. I can’t help but feel as though something isn’t quite clicking for Mohamed Salah at the moment and if it did then he’d have scored a hat-trick all on his own. Indeed, I think that Jürgen Klopp chose to play the Egyptian in the hope he’d bag a couple and get back to his confident best. The good thing is that he’s always showing, always willing to get on the ball and try things. I know statistically that he’s doing as well as in any other season he’s played for us at the same point, but it’s just not quite there for him. The same could be said of Naby Keita. I thought he had a nice tidy game, passing it well and keeping himself busy. Yet at the same time it wasn’t a blockbuster performance and people continue to wait for one from him.

Part of the problem for Naby is the fact that people seem to want to take extreme opinions of his performances. There are plenty that are determined to praise him to the high heavens when he does anything whatsoever, whilst others seem to react to that and decry his performances as dreadful when they’re often just ok. Last night he was fine. He played well in the first-half and faded a bit in the second, but it’s not as if anyone in Red pulled off a masterclass after the half-time break. If you’d have taken to social media after the full-time whistle and you’d have thought that he’d either scored four goals or shot a man, such were the polarised opinions of his performance. The sooner people stop jumping on his every appearance and trying to form a definitive opinion the sooner we can just enjoy watching him play and trying to find his way on Merseyside. In many ways, though, the attitude towards him is similar to how some people feel about the team as a whole.

No Team Has Ever Won Anything Playing Brilliantly All Season

It’s something that I’ve come back to time and again, but no team in the history of the English top-flight has ever won every single game that they’ve played. Last season Manchester City completed an unprecedented treble of domestic cup wins, but they didn’t play brilliantly in every competition. They needed penalties to get past Leicester City in the League Cup, for example, and they lost four times in the Premier League. Arsenal’s Invincibles drew thirteen times, including 0-0s with Birmingham City, Newcastle United and Fulham. The point being, teams don’t always play electric football. It’s worth remembering that one of the most exciting seasons that we’ve had in terms of performances was 2013-2014, when every match was a rollercoaster and it felt like excitement alone would power us to the title.

In the end, of course, we missed out on the big one and finished that season with nothing to show for our efforts. As with the Champions League final last year, when we went 1-0 up virtually from kick-off, it is not Jürgen Klopp or Liverpool’s job to entertain the nation. The only job at hand is to win and at the moment the manager and his charges have found a way to do just that. We have equalled the record points haul after eleven games, so who cares if we’re not playing scintillating football right now? I certainly don’t. We’re now one win away from once again qualifying for the Champions League knockout stage after last night’s result and if you think I’m going to mither and moan because we’re not scoring fives and sixes then you’d be dead wrong. Win. Keep winning. Don’t stop winning.

We’ve Become A Ruthless Machine

There are many comparisons that you could make between Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool team and the Manchester United side that Alex Ferguson put together in the 1990s. The decision to fill the midfield with functional players that accommodate the others in the side is a perfect example. Yet I think the main thing that the German’s done is turn us into a ruthless winning machine that knows exactly how to grind out results. There were too many times to mention that Ferguson watching his Red Devils team underperform and yet somehow still make it out of a game with the result that it needed. It’s because the Scot knew that performances are great, but results are all that matter when the season comes to a close.

There’s no way of knowing what the remainder of this campaign will bring. Napoli seem to be like our kryptonite under Carlo Ancelotti, whilst Salzburg have impressed everyone and will be no mean feat to take on when we head there in the final game of the Champions League group stage. On top of that we all know just what Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are capable of achieving, so a six point lead isn’t as useful as it might have been in seasons past. It’s entirely possible, therefore, that we don’t make it through the Champions League and that the title once again eludes us. If we stop thinking about results and concentrate on making our performances better then I think there’s an increased chance of that happening.

Keep on winning and the performances will come. This Liverpool team appears to be in the results business this season and I’m absolutely fine with that. Results are ultimately all that matter and that maybe the greatest lesson we’ve learnt in recent times.

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