Right, so September didn't go as planned. After gaining six points from nine at home to Southampton and away to both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, September's schedule didn't look so daunting. Successive away games in the Premier League against that calibre of opposition are not to be dismissed with such insouciant ease. Again, the first full month of the season didn't hold anything close to being as difficult as the first three league games. Sure, Aston Villa have enjoyed playing at Anfield under Paul Lambert and Upton Park has been an incident-filled yet fruitful ground for Liverpool, but still. Better squad, talented manager, momentum, and more. Those fixtures did not go well. Wins against Ludogorets, Middlesbrough, and West Bromwich Albion weren't as emphatic nor convincing as expected. A derby win was turned into a draw right at the end of additional time. September wasn't what was advertised.
Yet October has started with some green shoots of promise. Just some, there's no need to expect any kind of gorging on happiness or extended fuzzy feelings. Liverpool have plenty to gain this month but failing to pick up the majority of points on offer may leave fans on the precipice of unbridled despair. Fail to beat Queens Park Rangers? It's the second coming of the HODGEPOCALYPSE! Can't compete with Real Madrid at Anfield? No AMBITION! Struggle against Hull City at Anfield? WHAT'S HAPPENED TO MY CLUB????? Fail to navigate past Swansea City in a League Cup tie at Anfield? It never happened, we'll win a trophy this season, no I am not rocking myself repeatedly in the corner of my room. NO NO NOOOOO!!
The following set of fixtures provide Liverpool with enough of a mix to find form and secure results. QPR (away), Real Madrid (home), Hull (home), and Swansea (home) offer Liverpool with opportunities to simply get going after the international break. A number of players are set to be available once again after being afflicted by various injuries and Brendan Rodgers has begun the process of placing Steven Gerrard in a different position. Maybe he's realised a few other areas of improvement that will be implemented during the international break. Last month's poor form may be buffeted somewhat, unconvincingly perhaps, by the loss of certain players through injury but not this month.
Brendan Rodgers' side already has three points from three for October after besting the Baggies, but what can Liverpool fans tell themselves if the league's bottom club cannot be beaten? What about Hull at home? Even Swansea at Anfield, in a cup tie that should be an entertaining one for neutrals, brings the expectation of victory. Real Madrid remain a different matter, yet there would be justifiable disappointment if Liverpool's best players couldn't see the match as an opportunity to give the Champions League holders an excellent game. Real Madrid's players should leave one of game's most atmospheric hosts on European football nights in the realisation that they were involved in a tough match. Some may claim that after defeat in Switzerland, Liverpool must pick up a point in October's Champions League game to keep in touch with Basel in the event of Paulo Sousa's side defeating Ludogorets on matchday three in the group stages.
So. It's three wins and a draw. Anything else, and it won't just be grumbles, groans, and gripes. Think finger pointing, endless tales of woe, and scrunched up faces surveying November's tougher offerings. Dissatisfaction will be difficult to disagree with and optimism may be the preserve of the afflicted.