Liverpool ended the month of August with a perfect league record and their first piece of silverware, but one month of football isn’t much to go off and at the time all we could really say was that Liverpool looked good. They looked determined. They looked as though they could make the title race a real race again after running Manchester City so close the year before.
Heading into September, though, even if City had stumbled and Liverpool were in first, they didn’t really feel like the favourites. They hadn’t yet begun to gather that air of invincibility; that aura of champions. Not yet. By the end of September, though, there was a hint starting to form. Something special was beginning to take shape.
September 14th, Premier League
Liverpool 3–1 Newcastle United
Liverpool ended August by putting three past Burnley but with media-fuelled talk of dressing room unrest. Their answer was to put three past Newcastle to start September, with Mané scoring his own stunner as part of a brace and Salah adding Liverpool’s third for good measure. And what a third it was, a real goal of the season contender as Salah linked up with Roberto Firmino to leave jaws—and Newcastle players—on the floor.
Bobby Firmino’s flick for Mohamed Salah’s goal against Newcastle— Goal (@goal) September 15, 2019
Liverpool are right now!pic.twitter.com/7stcmDrnCv
September 17th, Champions League
Napoli 2-0 Liverpool
Liverpool’s league season may have been shaping up nicely at the start of September, but their return to Europe to defend their Champions League crown started off with a struggle against a stubborn, well drilled low-block deployed by Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli in an even game that broke in Napoli’s favour with an 82nd minute penalty. A second goal for the hosts followed as the Reds chased, leaving them with an early setback and some work to do in their group.
September 22nd, Premier League
Chelsea 1–2 Liverpool
Returning to the comforts of England, Chelsea provided perhaps Liverpool’s toughest league test of the early going at Stamford Bridge, but a Trent Alexander-Arnold’s first set piece goal of the season against the Blues and some strong goalkeeping by Adrian helped the Reds take another three points in a game that served to highlight just how important Liverpool’s backup was in what became their title charge.
Adrian might not have quite been at the level of the world’s best goalkeeper, the man he replaced, but he played eleven games in the league for Liverpool this season and conceded just ten goals, and as much as anyone he’s why the Reds won their first Premier League title in three decades. For all the plaudits Liverpool’s players rightly gathered, the role Adrian played could perhaps be easy to overlook. It shouldn’t be.
September 25th, EFL Cup
MK Dons 0-2 Liverpool
Liverpool kicked off their EFL Cup campaign with a few senior names in the team—including James Milner, who scored Liverpool’s first while Ki-Jana Hoever scored their second—but all the promising youngsters sprinkled in was a sign of things to come, making it clear Jürgen Klopp’s priority was the league, and after than the Champions League, and after that an almighty chasm before you got to the two domestic cup competitions.
September 28th, Premier League
Sheffield United 0–1 Liverpool
Premier League Table, Sept. 30th
|4||West Ham United||7||3||3||1||12|
Liverpool were the better side, but Sheffield were stubborn. Liverpool had their chances, but seemed in a wasteful mood. Despite that, Liverpool kept pushing and eventually got a bit of a break, a moment of good fortune, and a narrow, one-goal win and three points.
As with a similar result against Southampton in August, it was nothing less than their overall play deserved, but as results like this began to pile up into the autumn, it would begin to build into an air of invincibility—of imperturbable nerve—surrounding the team. Liverpool might not always be perfect, but you would have to be perfect—absolutely perfect for 90 minutes straight—to have even a chance against them. They were gathering the aura of champions.