Liverpool haven’t played great football yet in the 2015-16 season. In fact, many of the same issues that plagued their previous campaign have again been on display. No matter how they’ve gotten them, though, this time out the Reds have managed something they too often didn’t last season. Namely, winning.
It may have taken a late wonder-strike and some generous officiating, but Liverpool have six points to show for their first two matches, and even if things haven’t clicked in attack and midfield has at times looked the same non-functional mess it did last year, in the end that’s what matters. Two wins, six points, two clean sheets.
"We know this is going to a be a difficult game, of course, but I’ve been impressed with the strength and the character from the players," said manager Brendan Rodgers, reflecting on the start to the new season and Liverpool’s chances as they head to the Emirates to face Arsenal in by far their toughest text so far this term.
"They are very focused at the moment and working well. We have some good experience in the team. We also have different threats now which can hurt teams as well as our footballing qualities. There are other attributes and facets of our game that can hopefully give us that unpredictably needed to get results and win games."
That experience, a mentality that has allowed Liverpool to grind out a pair of victories they perhaps didn’t fully deserve, was absent last season. This time around, it’s been an early identifier, even if the difficult nature of the two victories in the context of past struggles has left some wondering if the results are in any way sustainable.
Arsenal at least should answer those doubts. Should in victory or a solid draw help to provide something of a clean break from last season’s disappointments. Or, if things don’t go well, do nothing so much as highlight the fortuitous nature of those first six points. Rodgers, though, is confident that this side is something new.
"What I’ve seen in the group we’ve got here now is that we have got players who are winners," he added. "They show the characteristics of winners with the consistency in their work and are very focused. We have made a good start in terms of results, and I’ve been pleased with our resilience and character.
"Now our football will get better and better as the season goes on, and along with that the consistency will come. If we can do that we can have a good season."