The trip to Manchester City looms for Liverpool. At least it feels like it looms. I’ve sensed a fretfulness in the air all week. Maybe longer. It’s nothing too worrying. It’s a big game after all, any match up with City is. It’s a game to make a statement with or whatever. Top four rival. Top four points. Top four life. Liverpool need to maintain the upward trajectory that wins against Arsenal and Burnley have made possible. But, of course, it’s not all about what Liverpool can put together on the day. The Reds will also have to deal with whatever fresh hell Pep Guardiola and the Manchester City juggernaut of talent throw into the ring. Thus the shadow of concern. Thus the looming.
James Milner, however, knows what’s what at City, having spent five seasons training and playing with the likes of Sergio Agüero and company, and he seems pretty relaxed about it. He’s not showing any fretfulness at all. He feels no loom.
“It’s two completely different teams and styles of play,” said Milner, “but two fantastic teams.”
There is reason to buy into Milner’s optimism. Liverpool have bested City in the league already this season and did the double over them last season. The Blue Mooners are a strong team but every team can be had.
“We always work on the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition,” said Milner. “They’ve got a lot of top, top players.
“David Silva is incredible. He always gets the weight of pass right. Raheem (Sterling) has gone and done really well. And obviously Sergio (Aguero) is so sharp around the box.
“They’ve got a lot of top players to stop, but we’ve got a good record against them. We’ll set up the way the manager wants. We’ll set up in training this week, look at their weaknesses and hopefully exploit them.”
You see, that doesn’t end as optimistic as it started, James. “Hopefully?” No, the optimism is a trick. Embrace the shelter of the loom. The loom is not hopeful. The loom does not seek positivity against the odds. The loom is not on a first name basis with Yaya Touré. The loom only looms.
But “hopefully” you’re right, James.