Pictures paint a thousand words and if the current slate of photos from today’s training session is any indication, LFC as a club have emerged from a tumultuous January as a portrait of harmony and unity. A rocky month both in terms of results - a loss to relegation-ready Swansea followed by the unceremonious bouncing out of the FA Cup by West Brom - and on the personnel side, with the joy of finally sealing the deal for Virgil Van Dijk, offset by the loss of Philippe Coutinho. Fans of the club were certainly glad to see the back of January and the closing of (another) disappointing winter window.
It would stand to reason, too, that the squad might be feeling a bit rocked by the set of changes. All seems to be well, though, at Melwood. I mean, check out these offerings:
Mo Salah and Danny Ings playfully re-enacting their favorite moment from Over the Top.
Gini Wijnaldum and Trent Alexander-Arnold re-enacting their favorite scene from Rocky III.
And James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not fully understanding why the handgrip shot in Cliffhanger was so tense.
Aside from clearly being big fans of Sylvester Stallone’s oeuvre, the club seems to have rounded the corner in positive spirits. And with good reason: the club got back to winning ways after their late January swoon with a comfortable win over Huddersfield. Also, despite the disappointing result (and more disappointing officiating), the club were able to keep Tottenham Hotspur at bay in their charge for a Champions League spot.
In fact, following this past weekend’s match, LFC have notched 51 points in this year’s campaign. That haul is a two-point improvement over this same stretch last season and carries deeper significance: over the past 13 seasons, Liverpool have only reached 50+ points by Matchweek 26, 4 previous times. In each previous iteration, LFC have finished either 2nd or 3rd in the final table. In fact, while our current club sits only two points improved to this point over last year’s club, it is also only two points shy of that famous, roaring iteration in 2013-2014 that came within a hair’s breadth of claiming the club’s first Premier League title.
No, quirky, trivia-ready stats like this aren’t perfect predictors for the way the rest of the season will play out. And it’s a small enough sample with such a large set of variables that it could end up being meaningless (Lakers fans know all too well the fickle nature of trend stats such as this).
But there is reason for hope, optimism, and good feelings in the squad. As a famous pugilist from Philadelphia - a town familiar with finally shedding its own ghosts of footballing failure - once noted, winning is defined by endurance. And after years of stops and starts, false dawns, and cloudy days, it appears we’ve got a team that, at its core, believes in itself.
Liverpool Football Club have taken a few blows over the past few weeks. But, unlike in years past, I sense the squad stands firm on its feet with a glint of rebellion in its eye. The squad are assembled for the run-in unified and confident; ready to fight for every point.