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So is this really going to be Liverpool’s year?

October 27, 2008

Liverpool have shown they have most of the key attributes of title-winning teams this season but there remains one test for them to pass before we can really talk about them as favourites.

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

Comments

I do believe it’s their year. United will not be able to hit last year’s heights with Ronaldo unlikely to play as well given his troubled summer. Tevez is moaning on the bench, Scholes is injured and giggs another year older.
If Lampard plays poorly, Chelsea play poorly while Arsenal have too many inexperienced players.
I didnt think Liverpool could really challenge until I saw how they coped without Torres.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive
 

Still too early to decide. Although, credit to them for their [3-2] comebacks during the last few games.

Plus, hopefully, the Hull factor will come into play.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

Hi Hans. What do you mean by the Hull factor? That they’ll take points off a lot of the title challengers? Or challenge for the title themselves?

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

This Liverpool side is not very inspiring, especially when compared to teams like Barcelona and Manchester United, but has been very effective up to now. If they do have a poor run though, I suspect they lack the quality and depth of squad to get themselves out of it, especially if they have more injury problems.

Posted by Iain | Report as abusive
 

You won’t see many Liverpool fans believing all the hype because there have been so many false dawns before. But a couple of things count in their favour:
1) It’s been a very strange season, compared to the last 5 or 6 seasons, what with Liverpool beating their Man Utd, Chelsea, and Steve Bruce hoodoos, and those come–back-from-the-dead victories, not to mention the whole Hull City show.
2) Guys like Reina, Torres, Alonso, and Mascherano have just come back from winning the Euros and the Olympics, so the spine of the side looks like it has real “winners” this time around.
3)The “winner” of the Big 4 “mini-league” normally goes on to win the league, and Liverpool have so far beaten both United and Chelsea, while Arsenal have yet to play one of the genuine title contenders, so have a head-start on the others.

Like I said, no real fans will be jumping up and down just yet because the season is not even 10 games old, but there are definitely reasons to be cautiously optimistic.

Btw, I predicted Saturday’s result beforehand! Check it out at http://premierleaguepreview.com/

 

I have a theory that Liverpool only do well in the league in a economic downturn, hence the 70s and 80s success – in the face of adversity and all that. So it could well be Liverpool’s year.

Posted by Beth | Report as abusive
 

This is going down to the wire with Chelsea, Liverpool and United. Wait until Ronaldo’s is in top form again and consistency returns to that lineup. In the meantime, it’s awesome to have Liverpool back on top.
http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/ 10/starting-eleven-football-blog-roundup _27.html

 

Hey Kevin.

I suppose the Hull factor is just taking points against teams you wouldn’t expect them to take points off – although, for me, at the start of the season, that was pretty much against the other 19 teams in the Premiership!

I don’t expect to see Hull challenging for the title come the end of the season, but it’s just rather refreshing to see them where they are.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

It’s fantastic, isn’t it? If Hull are still up there in a couple of months time it will give hope to a lot of clubs.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive
 

I like Beth’s theory :-) And as Kurt said, it’s much too early to start celebrating too much.

Still, this has been a season of firsts. First league win under Benitez against Manchester United. First league win under Benitez at Stamford Bridge. And both of these have been achieved without Torres and with numpties in the boardroom.

 

I have a feeling it will just be like when Reading got promoted a while back.
Had a relatively fantastic start to Premiership life, but ultimately, not sustained the next.

I for one would love to see Hull finish in the top 4 – it would definitely show those who splash the cash a thing or two.

Posted by Hans Moman | Report as abusive
 

were having a great start to the season but its a long way to go,so we shouldnt get carried away,liverpool fans are used to a rollercoaster ride and at the moment were having fun at the fair,so just enjoy the moment YNWA

Posted by cathy | Report as abusive
 

Silently hoping, silently confident
until the title comes around the fields of anfield road,
then I will celebrate and cheer lest I jinx anything.

Posted by Five Times | Report as abusive
 

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