If you were a betting man, it would probably be worth a punt to hedge your bets on Liverpool winning the Premier League this season. After having lost out on the title by the skin of their proverbial teeth on the last game of the previous season, there is a general feeling among fans and pundits alike that this is indeed the season where they’d go from ‘nearly men’ to actual winners of a trophy that has eluded them for just a little over three decades.
On Sunday, as they prepared to face Tottenham Hotspur on the hallowed grounds of Anfield, there was a sense that the Anfield side were experiencing a bit of a wobble in form especially after their rather lacklustre display at Old Trafford the week before where an ‘out of sorts’ Manchester United team pushed them to their limits before they eventually eked out a draw in the final few minutes of the game.
There were signs of a revival, however, in midweek when they ran out comfortable winners in Europe against a Genk side that were quite frankly and with all due respect not in the same league as their illustrious visitors. The big match on the horizon was against Spurs and the general feeling was that this could be the toughest test of their season so far despite the fact that the London side themselves were having a rather erratic season.
The Kop section at Anfield as usual sang its lungs out in a chilling rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ as both teams lined up on a pristine pitch for the pre-match rituals but as a neutral you’d get a sense that behind the sonorous din were a few jangled nerves engendered by the fact that Man City had won the previous day and cut down what had just a couple of weeks ago been a healthy lead to a marginal three points.
Harry Kane pounced on a ricochet in just 48 seconds after kick-off to give Spurs the lead and quieten the vociferous supporters who had hardly had time to get the dust off their seats. Suddenly, it looked like one of those days where you felt like nothing was going to go the way of the home team, especially when Keeper Paulo Gazzaniga seemed determined to have the game of his life by pulling off a number of impressive saves to deny Liverpool but in the end, his heroics were simply not enough as Liverpool muscled their way past him twice for a much deserved victory.
There will be sterner examinations to come for Liverpool in the form of current champions Manchester City who they meet in a couple of weeks from Sunday and it would be hard to see past them if they come through with a win but then again, a loss should also be no indication that they will not recoup and go on a long run of victories. Klopp has this side purring at the moment and barring injuries to their key front three men, Liverpool should comfortably be winners of the Premier League trophy come May 2020.
The Spurs match was one that Liverpool would have drawn or lost a couple of seasons ago but as team captain Henderson pointed out in a post-interview, ‘the team’s mentality has improved’ and there was certainly enough grit shown on Sunday to suggest that the team has indeed imbibed a new mentality that could see them go all the way and perhaps break a few records to add to what has been an imperious showing so far.