Winning and clean sheets might scuttle close to the realms of acceptability, especially if single goal victories are served by Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side. Possessing a narrow lead for much of the game ensures that seemingly eternal deflation is only a moment away, even in the dying seconds of a game. That's the sort of victory where suffering can still spread and surreptitiously seep into the pores of hopeful zealots. There is one thing that allows fans to be blissful for a period during the season: topping the league before an international break with an unbroken run of early victories. This is completely unacceptable and must cease to exist in our world. Immediately.
What is happening? There is little to seriously complain about so far on the pitch. Caveats reign as always yet the league table does not lie. Until it does when we say so. Three Daniel Sturridge first-half goals. Three clean sheets. Three second-half wobbles. Three victories. Stoke City, Aston Villa, and Manchester United vanquished. Just. Nine unmatched points. Liverpool Football Club on the pitch is a paragon of resilience and teamwork. Not always impressive but top of the league until 14 September. That's two weeks being the best. Two whole weeks! Heads might explode.
0 - David Moyes has never enjoyed a Premier League victory at Anfield, losing five and drawing six. Troubles.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 1, 2013
3 - Liverpool have won their opening three games of a Premier League season for the first time since 1994/95. Spirit.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 1, 2013
Skulls might indeed expand in ways that are undesirable but this is the sort of start Liverpool wanted. Can you remember around this time last season? ETW does. Liverpool made the worst start to the season since 1962. 1962! That season was Liverpool's first season back in the top flight under the late Bill Shankly but losses to Blackpool, Manchester City, and Blackburn constituted a poor start for the Scotsman. Time and patience brought improvements in subsequent seasons for Liverpool, much like today. However, consecutive victories garnered through the deployment of a variety of tactics in each game isn't what ETW can sink its teeth into. Too much bone and not enough meat on this misery platter.
Being left with just two senior strikers after failing to send money and some midfielder called Jordan Henderson to Fulham in exchange for Clint Dempsey was being lamented almost to the day 12 months ago. What is particularly abominable so far is signing a Champions League level centre back in Mamadou Sakho, one of the most highly-rated young centre backs in Europe, a young winger on loan trusted by our old friend Rafa Benitez, and witnessing a titanic performance by an out of favour former player of the year. Simon Mignolet saves. Kolo Toure approving and performing. The return of Lucas Leiva. The growing maturity and reliability of Jordan Henderson. Not knowing who David Moyes is. Steven Gerrard continuing to be the man for the occasion not the source of midfield woe. Good, old-fashioned winning. Collectively, this is offensive and injuries must provide some tangible redress during the international break.
What morsels of despair can ETW find right now? Perhaps a Spaniard will offer solace for wicked lips. Iago Aspas, Jose Enrique, or Luis Alberto? Alberto's a talented youngster adapting to a new league. Enrique has responded well to competition and continues to pass matchday tests. Iago. Yes, Iago Aspas. Aspas needs to do better after two poor performances that followed a bright league debut. Yes, ETW can nibble on him soon and we can all say "good night" to honest Iago. On the subject of nibbling, it suits the rhetoric of the gloomy to ignore that Luis Suarez will be back in a couple of games so that Iago Aspas, a talented player, can serve as support on a matchday battlefield. Affording a player more than a few matches before irrefutable condemnation is naturally a sensible path, which must be avoided in preparation for destruction and weeping.
What about the transfer window? That's finished. Artur Petroysan, defensive depth in key positions, and all that jazz. Where's Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Diego Costa, or Willian? What's the Mata with our transfer dealings when it comes to marquee names? Forget the fact that Liverpool actually went in for those three players and they're all at clubs that can offer what we can't: Champions League Football. We are Liverpool Football Club and that should definitely bring the marquee players in at all times, not Champions League football or oil money.
While taking time out last week to write this accursed column, ETW let Idris Elba escape and he cancelled the apocalypse. Only a few days later, Brendan Rodgers might have just emulated the scoundrel only in the transience of such a feat. The fairness in football is that both the optimists and the pessimists will eventually bathe in moments of unabashed satisfaction. Be assured that tales of misfortune and woe are never far away.
- Ed provided one of his solid match recaps on our victory over Manchester United and David Moyes. Tactical wizard Michael Cox looked at how Liverpool have been coping without the brilliant Uruguayan.
- Yesterday was the day William "Bill" Shankly was born 100 years ago and we asked the community to share their thoughts on Shankly's significance. Phil McNulty explored how Liverpool FC paid tribute to the great man in victory over Manchester United.
- In English football, only Chelsea have spent more money than Arsenal have on a single player after Arsene Wenger signed Mesut Özil for £42.4M. Özil will wear the number 11 shirt while another new number 11, Gareth Bale, cost Real Madrid nearly double the amount Arsenal paid for former the Real Madrid man. Both are excellent players but there's something wrong with those respective valuations and Jim White isn't going to provide the answers.
Liverpool are top of the league and managed to beat arch rivals Manchester United as a victorious tribute to Bill Shankly. It seemed as if the Football Gods had this in their plan all along and while this season is still cloaked in its infancy, it's a positive start. The following two short videos capture the feelings of triumph and Liverpool pride.
Sky Sports News Short - Spirit of Shankly lives on (1/9/13) (via GreenArmyNewsWC2014)
Liverpool vs Manchester United You'll Never Walk Alone (via Govind Sembhi)