The Premier League is broadly described as being the most competitive league in Europe. With 6 clubs typically in contention for the 4 Champions League places and a strong slate of mid-tier clubs, the clichéd belief that there are no easy points in the Prem holds relatively true. And even when facing big clubs that have fallen on tough times, there is always that sense of anxiety trepidation.
Arsenal is one such big club that’s seen a bit of a tumble. In their first season without figurehead and legend Arsène Wenger at the helm, the club has hit a bit of a rough patch. Granted, their opening slate of matches which saw them face off against defending champions Manchester City and a resurrected Chelsea in their first two matches would be a tough ask for any club. And considering that Arsenal were a club that, despite their talent, would be in the middle of a major transition, it would be understandable that they would walk out of that set of matches a bit bruised but it would not necessarily portend a calamity.
Since those two matches, that has proven to be true as Arsenal have secured results against the clubs they should have been expected to get them against. In fact, aside from the two losses to Chelsea and City, Arsenal have only dropped points in one match, a draw to Crystal Palace just last week. The sleeping giant, it seems, might have been awakened.
This would all be enough to cause some pause but Liverpool’s #1, Alisson Becker, still feels securely confident ahead of tomorrow’s match up against the Gunners. Despite being up against the fourth-place club, Alison believes deeply in the quality of the Reds squad.
“We’re confident in our quality. We appreciate the quality of the opposition but we can’t show any fear on the pitch, we need to be brave, we need to do our best to play our best football and play the way Klopp wants us to on the pitch. It’ll definitely be a great contest. It’s definitely going to be a great game and we shouldn’t fear anybody.”
Becker is right. Given the quality of players available for selection by Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool should expect to be in every match regardless of the opponent. And with Liverpool having already played Manchester City and Chelsea to draws and nipping points from Tottenham, Liverpool’s record against the Top 6, so far, has been positive.
Arsenal will need to be respected, no doubt, but there is no reason not to expect a good performance from Klopp’s side. And, as Becker notes, this expectation is reflective of the aims of this club.
“A team with intentions of winning the Premier League needs to be winning this type of game so we’re going there with victory in mind, while keeping our feet on the ground and knowing we’ll need to give sweat, blood and tears to win the game.”
A club intent on winning every competition, on winning every match, goes in seeking victory. But the operative part in this quote, I think, is the part about keeping one’s head firmly secured. There is a quiet and solid confidence in Jurgen Klopp’s side. One that believes in their quality as a team without reckoning with the size of the job immediately in front of them.
That is, if anything, a title winning mentality. Bring on Arsenal, then. Up the Reds.