Maybe time for a quick visit to see what’s been happening since football returned a few weeks ago. The first thing of course, from Liverpool’s point of view, is to mention…..again, that we clinched the title. See my post from a few weeks ago – HERE. Oh, and of course, nothing to be heard from the null and void brigade anymore. Well not much anyway.
But on that particular point though, there are still some saying that our title is tainted. Why? Take your Liverpool hating goggles off for a moment and look at it logically. We’ve won the league and won it in a canter. End of.
On the other hand, even though some fans say our title is tainted and should be ‘asterisked,’ they are also getting excited about their own team’s chances in some instances. To use an example, if someone like Chelsea qualify for the Champions League, then they’re going to celebrate that aren’t they? That’s not tainted in any way. And yet, some Chelsea fans are saying that our title win is tainted. Hey? Explain that one? Only Chelsea as an example. There are also fans from other clubs who have this bizarre view.
Anyway, this “what’s been happening since football returned a few weeks ago” post is about what we’ve been doing. Mentions of other clubs and the season as a whole will be discussed at the end of the season.
Since Football Returned A Few Weeks Ago
To be fair since football returned a few weeks ago, our form has been patchy to say the least. Of course the ultimate job was completed ‘early doors’ when we clinched the title. Our first title for 30 years. How good is that. But, should we be concerned about the patchy form? Or is it a case of ‘foot off the pedal’ since clinching the title. NB: I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned us clinching the title before? Well anyway, we did so take note.
In terms of potentially taking our foot off the pedal I would be very surprised if any Klopp team would take their foot off the pedal. Not intentionally so anyway. Maybe we have switched off mentally without intending to do so. That’s possibly one consideration. Which is not a huge problem in the bigger scheme of things.
Personally, I’m surprised at how patchy we’ve been. I thought that once the title had been clinched we would take the shackles off completely and play with a swagger and just blow teams away.
If it isn’t a case of switching off temporarily then what else could it be?
Since Football Returned – Have We Been Sussed?
The worst case scenario for our patchy form of course would be that other teams have sussed us. For about two years or more now we have been spoilt. The mentality monster attitude of this team has given us such a feeling of optimism whatever the game and whatever the circumstances within a particular game. We invariably always found a way to win. Some have called it an air of invincibility. I wouldn’t call it that. That, to me, smacks of arrogance.
But, in particular, our last two games against Arsenal and Burnley we have seen a reversal of events. Instead of invariably finding a way to win, we have seen two games where we totally dominated and yet, found a way, not to win. I must admit, it reminded me of some of the darker days not so long ago. The days when we would dominate teams, have 20+ shots, our opponents have only one or two shots and we only draw. Or even worse. We lost 0-1.
Stats, Stats And Damn Lies
Quite how we lost to Arsenal last night was a reminder of those days not so long go by. I read somewhere that we had 23 shots to Arsenal’s 3. In terms of possession the stats were 70% to 30% in our favour. No surprises that looking at those figures, you would expect us to claim the 3 points. Or at least not get beat. But no, what misleading stats. Stats, stats and damn lies in fact.
I can’t seem to recall if we have ever pulled off a win in the Premier League after being battered by a team possession and shots wise. Take our recent game against Man City for instance. We weren’t battered in terms of stats. But City were the better team. That doesn’t happen to us that often either. And yet, City get the win they deserve. A margin of 4-0 though? I don’t think they were 4-0 better than us. Do you?
Last Saturday, we went in at half-time having put in a 4-0 or even a 5-0 first half performance and yet we were only leading by a solitary goal. As we know, Nick Pope the Burnley goalkeeper had a blinder. Which he is entitled to of course. But, and no disrespect to Nick Pope, was the 1-0 scoreline a combination of his heroics and how poor our finishing was?
Last night against Arsenal, at times in football speak, we were “kicking in.”
In previous seasons we have given Arsenal 4 and 5. Last night shouldn’t have been any different. So, what’s happening?
Since Football Returned – Are We Seeing Some Warning Signs?
So, since football returned, are we seeing some warning signs? Not being alarmist. Not at all. But, as they say in football, the best time to consolidate on your successes is when you’re at the top of the pile. Failure to do so will only lead to one outcome. Strengthen while you’re ahead.
I’m not saying this has parallels to our title win in 1990, but I seem to recall then that quite a few of us were concerned that the average age of our side then was on the high side. Around the 29 to 30 years of age mark if I can remember. To rebuild that side was to be a big and expensive job. And we didn’t really. The rest is history as they say.
Now though, although age is not an issue, other factors seem to be a consideration when it comes to bolstering the squad. One I don’t get is not seeing a need for players in certain positions. One such example is Timo Werner. If money is an issue due to Covid-19 then fair enough. But if in addition to that there is a perception that we don’t need Werner or any other striker cover then that could really come back to bite us.
Yes, we have Divock Origi. And as good as he is, is he really top drawer in the same sense as Werner? You decide. Rhian Brewster will return from his loan spell at Swansea? He will, won’t he? But is he ready to step in for any of front 3 on a regular basis if need be?
This I Don’t Get
Quite often, fans and pundits alike say we won’t be signing a striker because we have the best front 3 in the League. Maybe so. They say that signing a top striker would mean them sitting on the bench and would they be happy with that? This bit I don’t get. Today’s game is all about quality squads and squads in depth.
Look at Chelsea. They’re about to sign Werner and are being linked with Kai Havertz and Jadon Sancho. To add to Pulisic and Ziyech. Already at the club of course is Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Willian may sign a new contract as well although it looks like Pedro is a gonna.
Will they get all those players? I’m not sure? But that’s not the point. From what I can see no-one is coming out and saying they won’t be going to sign any of these because they already have Hudson-Odoi, Willian, Abraham, Werner etc. And why would they? A strong squad with quality in depth can only mean one thing. They will have a stronger chance of achieving success.
Out Of Form Players And Goal Droughts
Since football returned after the pandemic interlude, we have not been firing on all cylinders as I say. One such player who has been hit and miss has been Bobby Firmino. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love our Bobby. A real top quality player on his day. So, I’m not just having a pop at him. However his goals have dried up. No goals at Anfield in the league this season. Yes, he has some top attributes that more than complement the side. But are we saying that we would not benefit from having top attacker available that could step in for a variety of reasons?
A loss of form? Maybe because of a goals drought? Provide competition? International games? Injury? Fatigue? A Plan B? Don’t get me wrong, this is not a criticism of Bobby. He is a top player, but maybe, a top drawer addition to the striker options may be an option. An addition to the squad in this area would also benefit Mo and Sadio of course.
Can We Go Again?
We go again is a well known saying associated with us and how we play. Since football returned we have gone again but with mixed fortunes. With all of our top rivals expected to add to their squads, they will all be doing what they can to knock us off our perch. A big question from some Liverpool fans is whether or not we can go again with this exact same squad.
Well, not exactly the very same squad. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne have already departed. So, there are two places in the squad that may need filling. It is felt by many that Curtis Jones is the ideal replacement for Lallana and that Neco Williams is a more than capable back up for Trent Alexander-Arnold. More playing time for these two plus Ki Jana Hoever also being a right back and centre back back up we seem to be OK in terms of the right full back and central defenders area.
Having said that if a centre back leaves – e.g. Dejan Lovren – then a replacement will be required.
Anyway, numbers wise, the departure of Lallana and Clyne does not cause a problem as we have ready made replacements. A key point to consider though is that the savings of Lallana and Clyne’s wages has probably freed up an opportunity.
If money is tight as a result of Covid, then maybe the wage savings could free up money for maybe a loan signing. Or a free agent. Willian from Chelsea maybe anyone?
We can really go around the houses with possible ins and outs. The main point is, whether or not we can go again with the same squad – albeit swapping the two out with the two in mentioned above? Will the mental strength still be there for a third consecutive season?
Since Football Returned – Don’t Forget We’re In Great Hands
Something we, as fans, need to fully understand is that in the main, we are not experts. Yes, we all have an opinion and that’s all well and good. But to give the club’s forum yet another mention, you should really see some of the posts on there. I’ve already mentioned on a few occasions the incessant, negative posts by quite a few on every match day thread. No matter what, there are quite a few that constantly berate the team, individual players, Klopp, you name it. They are “experts” in their own minds. Quite often when you see a page of posts and you see who has posted them, you can skip through a lot of them as you know that certain posters will have only posted negative stuff. Much of which is crap anyway. They are nowhere to be seen when the team is doing well.
What these moaners and groaners always seem to forget, or dismiss, is that we are in good hands. Even knowing how brilliantly the team and everyone connected with the club has done over the last few years, the moaners still know best. It is incredible at times, but there you go, it happens.
In Jurgen We Trust – We Go Again
But, as I say, the important thing to latch on to is that we have some fantastic people running our club. My thoughts above are just that, my thoughts. Which, in the grand scheme of things, means diddly squat. Whatever my thoughts are, there is no doubt that Jurgen and all those involved have already considered it all and either have, or will act accordingly.
To illustrate the level of trust we should all have is if say, we don’t sign any players. If Jurgen says we haven’t because he feels we don’t need to and he is happy with the squad, then we should be happy as well. The time to worry is that we aren’t in a position to go after players at all and Jurgen isn’t able to reinforce the squad if he sits as a result of events out of his hands.
In short when we go again next season, I just hope that we’re never going to see the posts, or the hear the pundits say, “well the warning signs were there towards the end of last season” if we do have a few wobbles.
So yes, embrace the mantra – In Jurgen We Trust – We Go Again.
Let’s enjoy the last two games and very importantly, really enjoy the trophy presentation next Wednesday after the Chelsea game. Stay safe one and all.
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