So is this really going to be Liverpool’s year?
As we all know, this Liverpool team have perfected the art of winning when playing badly, coping without their best players and taking points of their biggest rivals.
Coach Rafa Benitez said after Sunday’s Chelsea win that Liverpool have belief, quality and character but I don’t think we’ll know just how much character until we see how they react when they get a bad result.
Last season, their first defeat, against Reading, was followed immediately by another one, away to Manchester United. Just as they were getting back on track they were held 0-0 by Manchester City at the end of December and didn’t manage another league win until February.
You could go back over previous seasons and find other examples of black months that have taken them out of the title running. This season, they need to make sure that any losses are isolated incidents.
Of course, if they go on avoiding defeat much longer it could be a moot point. I remember George Graham once saying that they key to winning the championship was scraping points from the matches you should really have lost.
“You’re going to play badly six times a season,” Graham said during his time in charge of Arsenal (and I quote from memory, so apols if it’s not quite right). “If you can get six points from those matches you win the title.”
At the moment, Liverpool are well ahead of the curve, with plenty of points from games they had no right to win.
Will they still be ahead come the end of the season? Let us know in the comments…
PHOTO: Liverpool’s Xabi Alonso celebrates the 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Oct. 26, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville