Liverpool: A Squad That Dared To Fight

Liverpool: A Squad That Dared To Fight

by Gareth Roberts


ONE of the many things that has Reds fawning over Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool sides - and indeed the manager himself - is the characteristics on display that we class as part of the Scouse identity.

Fight, passion, overcoming adversity and proving people wrong are among those traits, with countless examples across all walks of life going back as long as you care to look for them.

For nigh on eight-and-a-half years we have seen those very same qualities from Klopp teams. And there is no sign of them disappearing just yet.

It’s been a strange old season, not least because of the decision from the manager to step down at the end of the campaign. But it’s also been a season full of the jus added to the mix that get us fans salivating at the thought of what could be served up next.

Liverpool have never really been fancied by the wider world this season. When the BBC asked 27 TV and radio pundits to pick their top four in August, none of them went for Liverpool to win the league. Only Shay Given predicted The Reds would finish second, while 10 predicted Liverpool would finish third and 10 went for fourth.

Six didn’t think Liverpool were good enough to even finish top four. Chris Waddle at the time said: “They probably have the worst defence of the top five.”

Turns out that after 22 matches played, just shy of 60 per cent of the league season, Liverpool’s defence is in fact the best in the Premier League so far with just 19 goals conceded.

Two of those came after Luis Diaz had a goal chalked off for no good reason at Spurs (no, you let it go).

At the other end of the pitch, The Reds have rattled in 51 goals, the same as Manchester City. Liverpool are also the hardest team to beat in the league, having lost only once, and that was to a 96th-minute own goal while down to nine men after Luis Diaz had a goal chalked off for no good reason at Spurs (no, you let it go).

Yet it seems Liverpool, already in one cup final, are still not really truly fancied.

It’s only in recent weeks that The Reds were bumped up to second favourites for the title behind City with the bookies. Only last weekend, this Liverpool side was described as “non-vintage” in one newspaper.

It just underlines the ridiculous expectations in football. For displaying the characteristics mentioned above, this Liverpool side is world class, as is this manager and the culture and mindset he has cultivated.

There was huge change in the summer, some of it planned, some of it not. Men who had been the example, talked Liverpool through games, showed the way and set the standards left the club.

They left with an 11-game unbeaten run at the end of the season shining up the stats in a season when Liverpool had lost 14 times in all competitions and finished fifth in the league on 67 points - 22 points short of champions Man City (*).

LIverpool have had injuries all-season long. We haven’t seen Thiago or Stefan Bajectic on the pitch yet. Joel Matip is out for the season. Kostas Tsimikas deputises for Andy Robertson and breaks his collarbone. Konate, Trent, Szoboszlai, Mac Aliister, Jones, Jota, Doak, Salah and now maybe Nunez have all spent time in the sick bay.

The Reds - very publicly - missed some of their transfer targets. Kids have been called in ahead of time and have taken their chances and then some in terms of Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley.

And what about Joe Gomez? He's barely had a mention but he's been brilliant wherever he's been asked to play.

Then, the manager drops his bombshell and once again the doom mongers predict the end is nigh. The departure of the Klopp is the death of the season, they said.

And how do Liverpool react? They blow away Norwich and they blow away Chelsea. Mourning glory? Well, let's see. Next…

All this without mentioning the dodgy red cards. The penalties not given. Or the constant comebacks.

The one against Fulham last month at Anfield that so upset the people who hacked BBC chief football writer Phil McNulty was the seventh time Liverpool won a match despite conceding the first goal in all competitions this season, the most of any side in England’s top four tiers in 2023/24.

What Liverpool fan hasn’t enjoyed that show of red strength? This season has been a relentless display of elite mentality flowing down from the manager to all below. And to my mind, it should be receiving higher praise. Much higher praise.

It’s the title race that no one expected. The challenge for No.20 that no one predicted. And - once again - Liverpool are deep into a season with the chance to win every competition they entered.

It’s been one hell of a ride already. And no one is giving up on any one of those four trophies anytime soon.

Who wants to take on Liverpool? Who fancies trying to upset the send off for Klopp? 

The boring omni-presence of Manchester City my temper some but it shouldn't. We should focus on what we have. A “non-vintage” Liverpool is going a long way to making it a vintage season.

Fair play to our fighters. Big up our battlers. They said you couldn't do it. But when did we ever listen to them?

You’ll do for us, lads. On to the next one.

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I’m not letting it go either. And whatever about the error for the Diaz goal, what was the explanation for the Jota red? Udogie kicked the fucking ground. Not having it

Craig Connick

“No, YOU let it go” should’ve been the title, magic otherwise magic!

George Singer

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