At some point, after a winning streak has hit double digits and with the nearest title rivals dropping points to lesser opponents, the need for critical thought begins to seem a touch less critical. The need to identify flaws and poor performances seems increasingly churlish. This Liverpool aren't a perfect side by any means, and they didn't play a perfect match on Sunday against Norwich. But they did what matters—they got three points.
"We have three very precious points," was how Martin Skrtel saw things. "The first half was really good, we were dominant, scored two goals and also kept them at bay, but the second half was different. They played really well and never gave up. We didn't play that well in the second half but we fought very hard and we won. It was a collective effort. Now we have one week to get ready for Chelsea and obviously everyone knows what a game that is."
The second half was different. There were individual breakdowns and a side that seemed to sink back, allowing Norwich room to grow in confidence that the Canaries hadn't been given in a first half going far closer to Liverpool's plans. In the end, though, there was a push back. In the end, this Liverpool side relied on its trademark belief that no matter what happens, they can always go out and score another goal or two or ten as needed.
Defenders can have their shaky moments and players returned from injury layoffs can struggle to go the full 90 and at times it can all seem on the verge of calamity and collapse. But in the end, it doesn't. In the end, unlike for Chelsea against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace and Sunderland, it somehow all works out. In the end, togetherness or belief or, every now and then, just a touch of sheer dumb luck sees three more points added to the tally.
"It felt great at the end," said Joe Allen. "Credit to Norwich, they pushed us until the very end, but it's three more points. You try to keep your composure as much as you can, but mentally that was very tough. But I think it showed the character, strength and personality we've got, to make sure we held onto those three points. Of course we'd like to see out games a bit more comfortably than that, but our will to win at the moment is incredible and we have kept that run going."
It may not be possible, in the stress of the moment, to sit back and really, truly enjoy the ride that this season's Liverpool side has put on offer. There remains a chance that it may not, in the end, lead to the title fans have waited 24 seasons to see returned to the club. Yet it should be possible to at least appreciate what's happening on some level, to set aside the natural inclination of fans everywhere to play at manager and to simply, for a short time, be fans.
This isn't a perfect side. Not by any stretch of the imagination. That it isn't stopped mattering some time ago.