In just a few hours, the 2017-18 Premier League season will come to an end, as all 20 clubs play their final fixture, number 38. Our Liverpool Reds will be sporting a different look today and give us a preview of next season’s kit, which has retained its retro style and the deep red of the current one.
But of course, today is about much more than just new clothes. The Mighty Redmen look to finish in the top four of the PL for the second consecutive season when they take on the Seagulls of Brighton Hove Albion, who have already guaranteed that their maiden PL season would not be their only one. All three teams (Brighton, Huddersfield and Newcastle) who came up from the Championship last season are safe and will be back in August 2018, while West Brom and Stoke have already been relegated, with Swansea teetering on the brink.
Liverpool should not expect a walk in the park (or at Anfield) today and Jürgen Klopp would have reiterated that throughout this past week. Despite Brighton already guaranteeing their league safety, it will be the first time that the majority of their first team have played at Anfield, and it is an occasion to be grasped. Complacency is not an option and with our first team squad members having played several more matches than our opposition, today will indeed be testing, as well as the last one, before our date with destiny at the Champions League final in Kiev, Ukraine on 26 May 2018. We look to be without a few of our players today, but our 12th man will be out in full force along with all of us watching the match around the world – so, whether it’s Sunday morning, afternoon or, if you’re in Australia, midnight; let us rally behind our Reds and ensure that they go all the way today and get those three points!
Klopp penned his thoughts about today’s match, what lies ahead and had a special message for all of us in the latest edition of This Is Anfield and here’s what he had to say:
As much as we respect Brighton, we come into the game with confidence and with belief that we can finish our season in the best way possible. Belief has been central to so many of the positive things we have done this season. Belief and confidence are completely different to arrogance and complacency. We have to value and recognise our strengths and then execute the plan that plays to them. We have been pushed to the limit in recent weeks with the intensity of what we have been doing. This is not an excuse – it is information, it is a fact.
We have lost important players to injuries through bad luck and the knock-on effect has meant more physical and mental pressure on the lads who have to keep going and keep going. But I say ‘no excuse’ because this intensity is what we want. It’s intense because it matters. Also, ahead of today we have had a full seven days to prepare and be ready and this undoubtedly will help us in our approach.
I said after Chelsea – and it has been repeated by the players – that today is a cup final and it is. And that’s not to add unnecessary pressure, it’s just to highlight the opportunity. Today is about opportunity. A Champions League place for next season and all that comes with it is within our grasp if we want to take it.
Like any cup final, it will not be given or presented to us. We have to go and do our job, all of us. But in a season where the competition in the Premier League has been of the highest quality ever and the intensity of the competition the highest ever, we can achieve one of our major objectives by winning today. That really is the start and end of any team talk, I can tell you.
Finally, I wish to thank our supporters for everything they have given us since August. It’s almost easy to forget now that we started this campaign by going to Hoffenheim, so our journey has been incredibly intense from moment one. This has been a journey shared by our supporters and, unlike us in the team, their travel, accommodation and tickets are not laid on for them.
The players talk a lot about their admiration for the supporters because many of their own family and friends share the experiences of our fans. They share the journey times, the delays, the cost and sacrifice of time to prioritise supporting this great club. I love that from our captain to the youngest player in the squad our boys recognise that representing these supporters is a massive privilege and I love that there is a shared appreciation in this moment of each other.
Players and supporters unified and together. Thank you for the amazing support this season and I hope that there are at least two more great memories for us to share before it is time for summer.
Let’s get behind Jürgen and our Reds to help ensure that our collective hope becomes a reality.
Up the Mighty Reds!