Two wins from two, the second best goal differential and zero goals conceded. It’s hard to realistically ask for a better start from the Redmen, and yet folks are already fretting after watching the 6-1 Manchester City defenestration of Huddersfield, juxtaposed against Liverpool’s nervy 2-0 win away to Palace.
It’s been two games, but everything just feels bigger so far this season. And fair enough. City redefined what was possible in the Premier League, shattering records for points earned and goals scored along the way. There’s every chance that even a Premier League best campaign for Liverpool would still leave the Reds a distant second. So every result by Liverpool is now going to be compared, either with joy or sorrow, next to what City is doing (or at least it will be as long as the Reds are within touching distance of the title holders).
However, this isn’t necessarily helpful, and it adds significant pressure on players who, let’s be honest, are already under the microscope. In this week’s This Is Anfield, captain Jordan Henderson tried to address this problem, and encourage fans to just enjoy the journey:
“Nothing could highlight the modern obsession with the ‘immediate’ more than the questions asked to some of the lads and the gaffer before and after the Palace game. Because Man City, Spurs and Chelsea had won before we played, we were already being asked about the need to ‘send statements’. Afterwards, it was a case of: have we sent a statement? I get that’s how it is these days. But it’s mad to think before you even kick off the second league game of a new season that such a topic is already on the table.
“As players and as a team we’re cool with it and we know how to handle it. I should probably warn supporters now that you’ll be hearing a lot of clichéd answers when we’re interviewed. After all, there are only so many different ways you can say ‘we’re only focused on the next game’!
“Today’s opponents Brighton help to highlight how much focus there is these days on ‘what’s next’ rather than actually stopping and enjoying the moment, the here and now.”
The skipper has a point.
Liverpool fell short, yet again, for a third straight final under Jurgen Klopp. Of course, we want to do one better next time we have a shot at something big and silvery. Liverpool fans deserve as much after so many close calls in recent years.*
That said, the best seasons in recent memory: the thrilling end to the 2013/14 Premier League campaign and the the surprise 2017/18 run to the Champions League final, only highlights Hendo’s point. Despite coming up just short in each, the seasons were still exciting, memorable, and most of us still look back on them fondly. We have new songs to sing, new memories to share, new heroes to laud, and a renewed hope that we can get over line line after all these close calls.
No one knows how this campaign—including the league and all of the cups—will shape up. But this is a great and exciting Liverpool side, one that should create memories for years to come. So enjoy it.
*Two Champions League runners-up, two Premier League runners-up, one Europa League runners-up, one FA Cup runners-up, one League Cup runners-up in the last 11 years, but who’s counting?