If there’s a downside to Liverpool’s Premier League winning streak (and there isn’t) it would be the comparisons to Arsenal’s unbeaten team in 2004. The Gunners won the league that year with 26 wins, 12 draws and no defeats. Jürgen Klopp’s players don’t need that kind of pressure heaped onto their backs right now. We’re only eight games in.
Liverpool have done well this season to take all available points from matches where the team wasn’t even performing at its best. Klopp isn’t thinking about a perfect season or about remaining unbeaten in May and neither are the players. The goal for the upcoming series of fixtures will be to improve the team’s dominance.
They’ll be thinking about Manchester United on Sunday. And then one by one the next twenty-nine matches will arrive. As is said often, Klopp and his team are only ever concerned about the next opponent.
Although, Gini Wijnaldum did seem nonplussed by the parallels with Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles.
“It is possible,” Wijnaldum said.
“Nobody knows how it’s going to be. We have had some luck up to now, but we have also put a lot of hard work in.
“We don’t think about the fact that Arsenal did not lose in that season. We just try to give everything in every game.”
That goes especially for this weekend’s fixture against United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team may be in 12th place, with a barely positive goal differential, having won just two matches, but Old Trafford will present another difficult test for Klopp’s side.
The manager will hope that his players will play the match and not the occasion. And there’s no reason to think that they won’t, giving what we know about this team. But it’s a powerful fixture to watch and that must go double if you’re actually playing in it. Calm, cool heads, and a determination to win (handily)—don’t forget the clean sheet—are what’s required.
“The way we handle every match is to respect the opponent and give 100 per cent,” Wijnaldum said. “We try to do everything as good as possible, to work as hard as possible.
“Every game in the Premier League is tough. Look at the results we have had. I can’t remember a game where it was easy.
“We have won them all so far because we give everything and were totally concentrated. Also we have had a little bit of luck.”
Could do without the need for luck on Sunday, though, to be honest. This United side has not been good and Ole is likely in over his head. It’s a must-win in regards to the emotional fallout of a lesser outcome. Liverpool may very well lose points at some stage or miss out on a perfect season, but it certainly should not come by way of this United team. I’m so nervous.