WITH the weekend’s clash with Manchester City coming up, many have already said the game could reflect how the rest of Liverpool’s season will progress.
No doubt, playing the champions can show a lot about how the entire team and squad are capable of holding up throughout the season.
A draw perhaps puts the team on an even keel in terms of quality and style, while a win may even show you’re better than them.
Make no mistake though, this is Liverpool we’re talking about. The side that’s continually managed to impress against the bigger teams on a regular basis, and then lose to absolute minnows – being made to look like schoolboys while they’re at it.
Liverpool defeated Manchester United in the FA Cup last year with a fairly impressive performance, overcame Manchester City over two legs in the League Cup. Arsenal were thumped 2-0 at the Emirates and that was at the beginning of the season which gave everyone at Anfield a bucket load to be optimistic about.
However it was the inconsistency that killed Liverpool’s season last year and ended Kenny Dalglish’s second reign on Merseyside as manager.
With their backs to the wall against bigger teams, Liverpool have always had this quality of coming up with the goods. Beating the masters at their own game, so to speak. Think back to Barcelona as defending European Champions were shocked 2-1 at the Nou Camp.
Juventus the year before, during Liverpool’s European Cup winning run. When the odds are stacked against them, they’ll play like champions. Very similar to the lower teams themselves who managed to reduce Liverpool to tears time and again last season.
After the 3-0 loss to West Brom, the players will be fired up against Man City. But it’ll be more important (if, of course Liverpool win) to then carry that confidence and assurance in to the next games as well.
It’s been too familiar a sight to see the same players who played like heroes one week, failing to even pass a ball 25 yards without scuffing it.
Even if Liverpool manage to win, which they are more than capable of on any given day, it still wouldn’t be time to start thinking it’s a sign of forward movement. That’ll come when Liverpool have had a 5 game winning streak, or kept a clean sheet for a fair few weeks.
It’s that kind of thing that scares other teams. People see lower teams have a great one-off day all the time and all it does is give them the confidence of doing something similar. But the moment you see a team stretch that kind of run over a long period of time, that’s when the doubt kicks in, and that’s what’s required here. Other teams need to doubt they can play at all when facing Liverpool.
The more results we see like the season opener against West Brom, the stronger the chances of the rest of the teams in the league fancying themselves against Liverpool.