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Processing That Visit To Old Trafford

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A lot happened on Sunday against United. It probably doesn’t apply to our title challenge.

Manchester United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite the scoreline, where Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford on Sunday ended in a 0-0 draw, a whole lot happened. Visiting Old Trafford is always a big moment in the season for Liverpool and this year was no different, considering a win or a draw would see us retake the top of the Premier League from Manchester City.

The whole game was weird, though. United suffered four injury moments in the first half to hobble their team, including a substitute getting subbed off. Liverpool also suffered their own injury setback with Roberto Firmino pulling up with an ankle issue, just to add to the injury woes we’ve suffered getting up to this. Then there was the substitutions Klopp made, taking off Jordan Henderson (which the captain was not happy about), taking off Mohamed Salah for Divock Origi (???).

And that was on the pitch. Off the pitch, Michael Owen said some things that apparently riled up United fans (I mean good for him?).

For a 0-0 draw, there was a lot of drama, that’s for sure.

The lack of a win today, while it doesn’t hurt our title challenge, certainly has a lot of people talking. About how Liverpool haven’t been able to score, if we’re ready for this kind of title test, if we’ve learned from our mistakes, if Klopp knows what he’s doing.

The truth is that no one knows what they’re doing because we’ve never done this before. The Premier League is a whole different animal to any other league, past or present. It’s one of the most competitive in the world. Jürgen Klopp, with his Bundesliga titles, has never won the Premier League, Jordan Henderson has never won the Premier League, Liverpool have never won the Premier League. Even Jamie Carragher, who said on Sunday that if we can get to March 4th and be on the top of table we’ll be okay, hasn’t won the Premier League. No one involved, past or present, with Liverpool Football Club knows what it takes to get past this point and to the trophy at the end of the line (disregarding James Milner for a second, I know).

Sure, we’ve had title challenges before, and heartbreaks. We know how to lose probably better than any of the Big Six (except maybe Tottenham - yikes).

Thinking about it, though, we know what it takes. It takes depth, which hasn’t always been our strong suit and sure might be our undoing again. It takes focus, which we didn’t have a lot of on Sunday. It takes strength, to stop other teams from taking the wins from us. It also takes winning, and not losing, and we can only do that one match at a time.

If Liverpool can keep their heads down, can focus on the match ahead and nothing else, we can march towards that trophy at the finish line. Maybe the pageantry of playing at Old Trafford against Manchester United, in the midst of a historic title challenge, got into the heads of everyone. Maybe Liverpool were too cautious on Sunday, Jürgen Klopp too cautious. There’s a whole lot of maybes and questions that went unanswered by that scoreless draw on Sunday, but it’s over. It’s over, we came away with a point, and no one can do anything else about it.

All that drama from Sunday, doesn’t apply anymore, doesn’t hold any weight.

Right now all we have are our speculations. Pundits, fans, coaches and players alike. Ifs and maybes and nothing that carries water because honestly none of us know what we’re doing. As someone who isn’t particularly religious, maybe this is what faith is. Faith that we can make it work, or faith that it won’t work in the end and I’ll be crying in a bar again come May.

May is a long way away, though, and there’s lots of matches to play. We can take them, we can take them all, with Watford next. Because that’s all we can do, as fans, as players, as a club.

One match at a time.