Liverpool returned to Premier League action on Saturday, facing Manchester United in the early kick-off at Anfield after what seemed like forever playing away from home.
We all know what social media is like in the run-up to a big game like this one. One half of fans are pessimistic with no faith in the Reds whatsoever and are certain that they are destined for misery. The other half are optimistic, knowing exactly what a game of this level means to Liverpool supporters, knowing that if they beat their biggest North-west rivals they will have bragging rights over their mates until next time at least. (There’s also the lads who think it’s okay to walk around with a half-and-half scarf on. A scarf with our biggest enemy’s name and badge on it – BIN.)
I can gladly say I was in the second half – Liverpool are known for rising to the occasion when it comes to a North-west derby and despite some problems they have suffered with recently, I went into the ground hoping to leave with three points.
Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me that Liverpool were playing against Jose Mourinho’s double decker bus. The Reds actually did everything they could against the Mancs to try and claim all three points and they were unlucky to have come away with just a point each. Realistically, Liverpool could not afford to lose that game and they didn’t have to worry too much about that happening.
Liverpool were clearly the better side against United who came to keep it tight and hope to break in patches but they didn’t over-commit or leave the door open. They stayed responsible and didn’t get caught up in the moment or with the emotion of the encounter.
19 shots (five on target) compared to United’s six (one on target). Liverpool were obviously the better side. In the stands, it was frustrating watching Liverpool miss so many chances, but you can tell they wanted it. Joe Gomez understood the situation, he knew what a big occasion this was and went in fighting. It makes you think; would Liverpool have won with Sadio Mané?
I’m all for being realistic, and I will admit that Liverpool needed a win badly. The game made it one win in eight games now for the Reds, an appalling record for such a strong attacking side. Jürgen Klopp will definitely need to step up if he is to continue his side’s Champions League campaign against Maribor on Tuesday.
All I can say is, if Liverpool can keep up this fierce play and if the supporters can continue to sing until we drop, they can do it. They can return to being the side that everyone is scared to face and they can get a run of good games under their belt and pick up some points in the league and progress to the final 16 in the Champions League.
It IS possible and they CAN do it. They just need to believe in themselves as much as half of their fans do.