Liverpool started the 2016-17 Premier League season on a high note, putting four past Arsenal in a 4-3 thriller of a game that saw the Reds take all three points home from the Emirates. Then, they followed that up with a disheartening 2-0 defeat at newcomers Burnley and capped it all with an encouraging draw against Tottenham Hotspur, also on the road.
It has been, by any measure, an up and down start, one that has left many uncertain just what is taking shape at Liverpool this year. The Tottenham draw was uptempo but cagey. The Arsenal win looked like the shootouts of the title challenge of 2014. And the less said about Burnley the better. Now, finally, Liverpool get a home game to try to show what they can do.
“A lot of things have happened,” said Klopp when asked about the wild start and of having their home opener pushed back into September. “If you mix our games up, the first three or four, maybe you can say that you can lose at Arsenal and draw with Tottenham but should not lose at Burnley. So we could still have four points. It’s not too good but it’s not too bad.”
A win, a loss, and a draw. If you’d told fans that would be the result of three road games to start the season against Arsenal and Spurs and Burnley, few would have been especially impressed. But few would have been disappointed by it, either. It’s an okay return. Not too good or too bad. It’s just that few would expect the loss would come against Burnley.
Yet even in that game, Liverpool were by far the better side. They lacked any real cutting edge in attack, but they held more than 80% of the possession and only gave up three chances against. It was a frustrating result, but not everything about that match was a disaster for Liverpool. Nine times out of ten, it’s a game they would have taken points from.
So, not too good or too bad. Some promise in the win against Arsenal and draw at Tottenham to go with a harsh result but not entirely horrible performance against a newly promoted side. And all three games on the road. It might not be the perfect start, but it’s a solid enough foundation as Liverpool prepare for their first game at a renovated Anfield.
“We are the only team with three away games,” Klopp added. “We should not be thinking about that now but now we have a home game and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us. They are a strong opponent, but I would say now that it is another season and our first home game with 8,000 more in the stadium. It’s more power for us, so we should use this.”