Last season, whenever Liverpool needed a goal they found it. Whenever a game was close, in the decisive moment, they came through.
Going by chances created and expected goals, they usually deserved all their victories. Yet at the same time, to have everything go your way when things are tight even when you are usually the better side isn’t normal.
Normal is to, at some point, have a moment of luck go against you. To have a chance to unconverted or have an opponent score a low probability effort.
And so it’s been this year for the Reds, as they’ve found more often than not that when things are close, results haven’t gone their way. Even when they have a solid case as having been the better side, which has often been the case.
“I think when you’ve been on the run we have in the last few years, winning game after game and things are going your way, everything is easy,” said James Milner, reflecting on Liverpool’s latest loss, a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United in the FA Cup.
“And obviously when results aren’t going your way, things that went your way before don’t seem to. That’s what we have to keep pushing, reacting the right way to disappointments.”
Over a season, perhaps, it will all balance out. If it does, and if Liverpool can keep their heads from dropping, they may still be favourites to finish in the top four when everything’s said and done.
React badly, though, let the past month’s run of poor results—results from performances that, if not great, have at least been better than said results—defeat them mentally, and they will have no chance of turning things around.
“I think the boys did well today,” Milner added. “They worked hard up front, created some good chances, and I thought some of the play in the final third was a lot better today, we carved out some good chances.
“Ultimately today is a cup game, but hopefully it’s the first step of us getting back on a good run.”