For our Americans out there, happy Thanksgiving. Personally, it’s my favorite holiday. Food, family, football (of the American variety), and not over-commercialised to the point of meaninglessness. And to all my non-American friends, please indulge me while I write this fluff piece about the good things at Liverpool.
After four wins on the trot, and an excellent first half against Sevilla, optimism flowed in and around the club. After a disastrous 45 minutes on Tuesday night, Everything’s The Worst yet again. Those who were reluctant to give praise for 14 great Alberto Moreno performances were quick to scapegoat him for the follies of Tuesday night.
There are problems at the club, certainly, but those have been overblown by what we’ve seen on and off the pitch in recent seasons. Taking the longview, we can still see a slow upward trajectory, and for that we should be thankful.
We should also be thankful for Jurgen Klopp. The charismatic German manager has his faults and blindspots (we all do), but is there anyone better and more committed to a long-term project than him? We have more 3-3 draws than the scoreless variety, and given the choice between the two, I say bring on all the goals. His brand of football is exciting, and the players he has brought in to play it (at least on the attacking side of things) have been of the utmost quality.
Speaking of those players, let’s take a look. Last summer we saw the addition of Sadio Mane. He made an impact in his first game, scoring a worldie against Arsenal for the fourth and decisive goal. He was one of those signings that we didn’t know we needed, until we saw just how much we really needed him. The rationale for signing Mohamed Salah this summer was a bit more obvious, if only to give us the much needed pace when Mane was out. But the two, flanking Roberto Firmino, have been incredible signings, and buckets of fun to watch. I think it’s fair to say that we can be very thankful for our attack.
We haven’t gotten off to a flying start (as we did last year), but we’re still within touching distance of the Top 4. A win this weekend could see us jump back into the Champions League spots, just in time for a busy holiday fixture list. Liverpool have just two defeats to their name so far, and have shown an improvement against the the dreaded bottom table teams that have been our achilles heel in recent years.
While Tuesday night was a disappointment, let us not ignore the fact that Liverpool still lead Group E in the Champions League, and will win the group with a win at home over Spartak Moscow (or, failing that, advance with a draw). Getting out of the group stage would be a first for the Reds since their quarterfinal run in 2008-09. This would be a tangible sign of progress.
We have a great club. All but the biggest clubs should be jealous of our history, tradition, and fan base. Even some of the richest clubs will never be able to buy their way to the history and traditions we possess. Every single time I tune into a match, sign onto this site, listen to a Liverpool podcast, or see someone out there sporting the liver bird, I feel connected to this wonderful community centered on this hallowed club. And that is something to be thankful for, indeed.