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The Story of Liverpool’s 2019-20 Season: October

Liverpool steadied themselves in Europe, rolled on in the league, and tried to figure out what make of the League Cup.


Liverpool’s October saw the Reds suffer what would in the end be their only stumble in the Premier League all the way through to the end of February. Despite that, they continued to build on their lead—and to build on their growing aura of invincibility—while in Europe they looked to steady themselves after a shaky start to Champions League group stage play, and a conundrum began to grow in the League Cup.

October 2nd, Champions League
Liverpool 4–3 RB Salzburg

After their opening round loss to Napoli, Liverpool needed results against the other two sides in their group to feel comfortable about advancing in the Champions League, and they got that here—but just barely. It was a wild, open game. A throwback to a time when the Reds would come out trying to outscore opponents, and a further sign whatever they were building to in the league, Europe this season was going to be an entirely different kind of experience.

It was also a game that introduced Liverpool fans to a player they’d soon be signing, not that those fans had any idea of it at the time.

October 5th, Premier League
Liverpool 2–1 Leicester City

Sadio Mané scored in the 40th minute for the Reds. James Maddison scored in the 80th for the Foxes. Deep into stoppage time, a controversial penalty gave James Milner the chance to secure the victory. Based on the actual chances created, 4-0 would have been a likelier scoreline than the 2-1 we got, and yet in the seasons of most clubs there are games they should win 4-0 that end up 1-1 draws or even losses.

Not this Liverpool side, though. Not while it still mattered. In the league at least, this Liverpool side could always be counted on to do something—or maybe, every now and then, to get a little help from a 95th minute penalty—to secure the victory.

October 20th, Premier League
Manchester United 1–1 Liverpool

Against United, though, perhaps there was a chink in the armour. That imperious form the club had been gathering up around itself in the league took a hit on October 20th. But even in that hit there was resilience, an Adam Lallana goal on the 85th minute—his first goal since 2017 and final goal as a Liverpool player—salvaging a draw. And that hit would represent the club’s only dropped points in the Premier League until February 29th.

October 23rd, Premier League
Genk 1–4 Liverpool

Liverpool kept scoring goals in Europe, though at least this time around they looked better at the back, as a brace from Oxlade-Chamberlain and solo efforts from Salah and Mané took Liverpool to six points in their group and had them once again feeling positive about their European chances.

October 27th, Premier League
Liverpool 2–1 Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs were fortunate, and that fortune had them up early, but Liverpool were dominant. They had 68% possession, twice as many shots—three times as many on target—and more than twice as many completed passes. They pushed, and they pressed, and eventually the chances fell their way. The final scoreline was kind to Tottenham. The performance by the Reds was one that said this side really was this much better than their Premier League rivals.

Premier League Table, Oct. 31st

Pos. Team Played W D L Pts.
Pos. Team Played W D L Pts.
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 28
2 Manchester City 10 7 1 2 22
3 Leicester City 10 6 2 2 20
4 Chelsea 10 6 2 2 20
5 Arsenal 10 4 4 2 16

It was a performance that more than justified the six-point advantage they ended the month with over Manchester City after last season’s champions dropped another three points in a loss to Wolves—after dropping two points in August to Spurs and three in September to Norwich.

October 30th, EFL Cup
Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal (5-4 pen)

Due to their commitments at the Club World Cup in December, Liverpool knew they would have a problem if they beat Arsenal in the League Cup. So Jürgen Klopp took it as a chance to give his youth and fringe players a chance.

Divock Origi up top between Rhian Brewster and Harvey Elliott. Adam Lallana anchoring the midfield. Neco Williams and Sepp van den Berg and Caoimhin Kelleher all given starts. The result was a madness. A 5-5 match that went to penalties. And that in the end Liverpool won. Setting up a date against Aston Villa in the quarter-finals they knew they wouldn’t be able to play. Add it all up and it makes for a quite absurd footnote to Liverpool’s 2019-20 season.

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