Full admission first. I missed last night’s Swansea City defeat. But was I surprised when I landed at Miami International Airport and desperately switched the data back on to find out the result? No, no I was not. Disheartened, disappointed, sad, angry, annoyed. Yes, all of these things and more, but not surprised.
A terrible defeat after a big victory? That is a very Liverpool thing to do. To lose on a set play, in a game which you absolutely dominated? That is a very very Liverpool thing to do. It was my worry this weekend when I wrote about the difficult test of getting up for this game after the last. I hate to say “I told ya so,” but actually I don’t, and I did.
The set back is just the latest dip in the rollercoaster that has been January. This isn’t the same as last year, when our form dropped dramatically, and we were bounced out of both domestic cups, and out of a title challenge (not yet, anyway), but bad nonetheless.
This month we’ve gone from the heights of signing the world’s most expensive defender in Virgil Van Dijk, to the lows of selling Philippe Coutinho. From knocking our local rivals Everton out of the FA Cup, and ending Manchester City’s 30-match unbeaten streak, to having our own 18-game unbeaten run ended by lowly Swansea City.
When you add in the conviction and sentencing of Jon Flanagan for assaulting his girlfriend, and the still pending fall-out of Roberto Firmino’s alleged racial abuse toward Mason Holgate, this month is probably leaving Liverpool supporters worse for the wear, on balance.
How Liverpool bounce back from this defeat will define the season. We have a weekend showdown with West Brom, which could see us into the last 16 of the FA Cup. An away trip to Huddersfield Town next Tuesday. And Top 4 chasers Tottenham Hotspur coming to Anfield. If Liverpool rack up three wins on the bounce, Swans will be a distant memory, just as our 4-1 defeat to Spurs has become this season. Failing that, especially another loss to our Top 4 rival, and all the good work done so far this season, could quickly unravel.
So, do we put a turbulent January behind us, ending the month with two big wins, carrying that momentum into the tie with Spurs? Or do we let yet another January slump derail us?
It is times like these when the best managers show their worth, and I fully expect Jurgen Klopp to get these lads back on track.