The new season has begun and Liverpool have done something that I haven’t always felt was possible in recent years on opening day. Step out and blow the opposition away. Doing the business as they say.
Cast your minds back over the past decade of season openers and you readily think of the loss to an average Spurs side in 2009, Joe Cole copping a red card in the 1-1 result to Arsenal the following season, held to a 1-1 against lowly Sunderland 12 months later and, let us not forget getting thumped 3-0 at West Brom on the opening day of the 2012/13 season. In fairness, the last couple of seasons have produced decent starts however, like the our clubs history of the past decade or so under American ownership, I’ve never truly started off the season with a genuine belief that the club we all adore and cherish can bring some serious silver back home some nine months later. When the team stepped out yesterday to play West Ham, I was genuinely expecting a final scoreline of around 6 or 7 zip to the red men.
In the end, they came close to my desired result and I expect plenty of floggings to be dished out during the season. After all, the boys didn’t really move out of second gear against West Ham which is a frightening prospect for future opponents. I feel incredibly confident of this team achieving something very special this season. There is not one reason why we can’t compete on more than one. More than anything, most reds want that elusive top flight title to come home by seasons end. Preferably by the end of April if that isn’t too much to ask? None of us would like to go through a final day heat stopper like City endured in 2012.
So why are Liverpool looking so classy in 2018? Firstly, I have to give credit where credit is due. I’ve been one of FSG’s most stern critics in recent years. Thankfully, they have rid themselves of that “money ball” tosh that was overused in their early tenure. Gone to, it seems, are the persistent habits of buying players with “potential” or “project” players. The club have finally woken up to the idea that, to win the big trophies on offer, you need the best players. Gone are the likes of Paul Konchesky, Christian Poulsen, Sebastian Coates and Iago Aspas and in are Alisson, Naby Keita, Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Sallah and Fabinho. You want the best, expect to pay for the best. It isn’t rocket science but it’s taken FSG 8 long years to wake up and smell the cheese.
On top of these quality acquisitions comes one of world footballs best managers in Jurgen Klopp. I had the pleasure of being at his first game in charge against Spurs nigh on three years ago and the anticipation carried forward from that day at White Hart Lane has grown to a point where Jurgen is seen as a messiah on Merseyside in 2018 and if many reds are to be believed, it is only a matter of time before regular trophies start making their way back to Anfield. Klopp has almost single handedly taken Liverpool to one domestic and two European finals in no time at all. The German has also given Liverpool back to back Champions League campaigns for the first time in a decade and made the club one that the best players now want to come to for success and not just as a stepping stone to bigger things. It’s hard to imagine that, as recently as last October, there were plenty of Liverpool supporters calling for Jurgen to be sent packing after a 4-1 mauling at the hands of Spurs. He’s got the club playing the best football in the land that has the rest of Europe on red alert.
Moving forward, the red men travel to Crystal Palace next Monday night before hosting Brighton and then heading down to Leicester. Three games and 9 points on offer. With the squad we have on deck, there is no reason why all 9 points shouldn’t be collected comfortably. It’s a great time for Liverpool supporters and we’ve got good reason to feel excited as to what may lay in wait over the coming nine months or so. I’m not asking too much when I dream of a league title, FA Cup and European Cup treble am I? I’d throw the league cup in too but because I’m feeling generous, we can leave those scraps for the other clubs to fight over.