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The Season So Far: And Then There Were Three - by John Brennan

Last time I wrote: "The front five are now up to 57 for the season and will go close to 100. The team is up to 84 and will go through the 100 barrier sometime in late-February, early-March and could hit 130 or more by the end of the season. We’ve done this before and not got the rewards we deserved in terms of trophies, so there are no guarantees, but with those numbers, we are going to be in contention – and the supporters likely on valium – for the rest of Klopp’s reign."


Well, I had to get something right after the injury jinx I ‘cursed’ the squad with on the pod! I wrote that just after the Norwich game on the 28th of January and since then, things have gone great, in the main, the sole blot on the Reds’ copybook being that off-day against Arsenal.


The front five have moved on to 67 – not bad adding 10 goals between them in the space of a month, given the injuries in that area. All of those goals came in the League too, with Darwin and Diaz really stepping up. We are looking at a game every three of four days from here on in, so getting four out of those front five back to fitness will be more vital than ever. If Diogo manages to get back on his feet for the final games, all the better. However, that doesn’t seem too likely at the moment.


We managed to hit the 100 mark on February the 21st, against Luton. Harvey doing the business in his 100th game for the Club. We still look to be on course for somewhere around 130, time will tell. Whatever, we’ve got one trophy in the bag and as stated above, with those kind of numbers, we’ll always have a chance of contending.


The Arsenal defeat seemed to knock the stuffing out of a good few Reds. I wasn’t that bothered: they were very good on the day, we were terrible, it happens. It hasn’t happened a lot this season – we’ve had two or three stand-out below-par to downright poor performances, Wolves in the first-half, Luton away, Sheffield United away spring to mind. Yet, we still came away with seven points out of nine against those.


The only thing that mattered after that Arsenal defeat was the reaction to it. And to that end, the Reds have come up trumps. Nine points out nine, 11 goals for, three against. Not forgetting the 4-1 demolition of Chelsea before the Arsenal game! We’ve scored three or more in a League game 13 times this season (out of 26 played). That’s extraordinary, all the more so as we have done it while looking solid at the back, with the second-best defensive record in the League.


This is largely down to Virgil. One of the things we all said we needed was for him to be back to his imperious best this season. He has stepped into the role of captain admirably – Paul referenced his leadership on the Cup Final pod. That leadership has been off the field as much as it has been on it. Off it, he’s been an example, accompanying the youngsters and representing the Club really well in the media.


On it, he’s been colossal, back to his commanding best. I think two things in particular stand out for me this season with Virgil. The way he took his punishment on the chin after the Newcastle game, served his extra game ban and was commanding all winter. And the way he took the blame for the second goal conceded against Arsenal, came back and inspired us to a win against Luton, helping to turn Anfield rabid and then a few days later leading us to Cup glory.


He’s not a one-man band though and all of them have been heroes this season – Ibou’s physicality is off the charts, Joe Gomez has gone above and beyond the call of duty, Andy has come back with fire in his belly, Kostas is so vital to us in terms of the spirit he brings to  the whole ‘project’ and the young lads have seized their opportunity with both hands, whether in the League or in the Cups.


If we go all the way in the FA Cup and the Europa League, there is a maximum of 29 games remaining. I know, only 29 more games – at best – with Jürgen at the helm… The intensity will really ramp up in February and March. Three League games, the League Cup final and an FA Cup 5th round tie before our very own version of March Madness with – take a deep breath – four League games, a possible FA Cup quarter-final, a two-legged Europa League tie and, as if that wasn’t enough, an international break. It’s exhausting even thinking about it.  We are well-equipped though, given the depth of the squad and its freshness which is down to the rotation referenced earlier and really good in-game management.’


We are now down to a maximum of 23 games remaining – the end is nigh, as witnessed by Jürgen going to all sides of the Ground for the fist pumps. He even acknowledged the Main Stand, for goodness’ sake! The rearranged Luton game meant that we actually played four League games in February. March was always going to be crazy and even more so now, given the scale of the injury crisis.


It’s all about managing on a game-to-game basis and trying to get bodies back. That the injury crisis hasn’t damaged us that much is down to a combination of fight, composure, maturity, desire. If you take the end of December as the start of the crisis (not to mention Mo’s and Endo’s absences), we have come through more than unscathed. We’ve advanced to the 5th round of the FA Cup, won six out of seven in the League and won ANOTHER trophy under Jürgen. Oh, did you think I was forgetting?


Sunday, at Wembley, was the epitome of what we have become under Jürgen Norbert Klopp. What he has instilled in this team, this backroom team, this communion with the supporters is intangible. It was best typified by him believing – genuinely – on the night of the loss to Madrid in Kiev that we would be back a year on. And we were. And the year after that we won the Title.


Against all odds, against the greatest cheating enterprise in the history of English football, we have gone toe to toe. Never backed down. A bounce or two of the ball away from epoch-defining moments. Almost 1000 goals. More than ‘a never-say-die’ attitude, it’s a ‘fuck-you-all’ attitude. We are here, come what may. In fact, the more adverse the conditions, they better we like it.


Alisson out. Caoimhin impersonates him. £500m-worth of footballers on crutches, we’ve got Joe Gomez, Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah, Bobby Clark, James McConnell and Jayden Danns to come in and star. There have been bigger victories in the Club’s history, there’ll be bigger ones to come, hopefully, but few, if any, will equal Sunday’s. The manager was bursting with pride. So were Reds everywhere.


Soak it up for the next couple of months, because soon we’re going to have to sing, ‘I’m so glad That Jürgen was a Red’.


John Brennan

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I think Arsenal are going to win the league. They just sem to be solid and now they are scoring. City look jaded a bit even if their results are still there and we are injury wise just riding it out amazingly. What klopp has done already this season shows why he's the best in my opinion especially for players themselves.

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On 02/03/2024 at 12:23, Bobby Hundreds said:

I think Arsenal are going to win the league. They just sem to be solid and now they are scoring. City look jaded a bit even if their results are still there and we are injury wise just riding it out amazingly. What klopp has done already this season shows why he's the best in my opinion especially for players themselves.

Last season, after 26 games, they were 5 points clear on 63. They've still got a choke left in them this year (even if it's not as dramatic as last season).


I reckon it's still a case of anyone who finishes above City will win it, and I can't see Arsenal doing that.

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