The red side of Merseyside is very optimistic for the second year running. Last season, they almost ended their 29-year wait. Fortunately, The Reds were still able to boast of being the best team in Europe last season. This season – especially after last weekend’s showdown – looks like the year that that optimism becomes reality. The thing is, after less than one-third of the season gone, is it way too premature to be optimistic? Luckily for us, we do not need to go very far in history to see that the League is not over until it is over.
Last season, Liverpool headed into 2019 with a six-point lead and had dropped points – to Leicester, West Ham, Everton and losing their only game of the season to the eventual winners, Manchester City – which would ultimately prove costly in the context of the English Premier League.
This season, 12 games have been played with Liverpool winning 11 and drawing one- away to Manchester United. So what do we think has changed?
For Liverpool, they have had very few injury scares. In the first eleven, only Alisson Becker has missed a number of games this season. The trio of Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are so important in attack (and defence) for Liverpool that a long-term injury to any of them could potentially derail Liverpool’s title chances as there seems to be no capable replacements – see Manchester United versus Liverpool at Old Trafford as Divock Origi came in for the injured Salah for that game and was Liverpool’s poorest League performance till date, a game in which they eventually drew. Further back, an injury to Van Dijk could also potentially collapse Liverpool’s backline, because of the pillar that he is – no pun intended. In the middle of the pitch, Fabinho is indispensible in the Liverpool midfield. An injury to him would send alarm bells ringing. Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown that he can be a capable option in the middle of the pitch as well.
For Manchester City, they can (kinda) excuse their three losses in twelve games to injuries to Sane (since August), Laporte, Stones (earlier on). As things stand, Liverpool leads Leicester City and Chelsea with eight points, Manchester City with nine. This is a great position to be in. However, Liverpool players, staff and fans would have to be optimistic and wary at the same time. What a place to be in.