Liverpool have been outstanding this season. Even that’s an understatement. 26 games, 25 wins and 1 draw. 25 POINTS clear of 2nd place Manchester City. A maiden Premier League title is all but confirmed to be coming to Anfield this year. Many people accept they have the best squad in the league. The best keeper, best centre back, best defensive midfielder and best attack. Yet that’s not the only reason they’re where they are and so incredibly dominant. It’s also their elite winning mentality that has carried over from last season’s miraculous Champions League triumph.
As a matter of fact, The Reds haven’t ‘played’ incredibly well this season. The football has been good, but occasionally, they’ve lacked cutting edge. This hasn’t been a one off for Klopp’s men either. In fact, it’s happened quite often. The fact that despite playing not poorly, but below the standard you’d expect and they STILL sit so comfortably at the top of the table is a testament to the mentality that this side has.
Liverpool winning ‘dirty’
The ‘never say die’ attitude that Klopp has instilled into his players is paying its dividends. Early on in the season in fact, it was apparent. Away at Bramall Lane to an industrious and physically tough Sheffield United side, they were under the cosh. But still, Liverpool found a way to win. A lucky deflection perhaps, but against the odds, they managed to take 3 points from one of the toughest sides at home in the league.
Against Leicester, a side that are now shoe-ins for the Top 4. 1-1 after an 80th minute James Maddison equaliser. It took a James Milner penalty in stoppage time to win the 3 points. Once again, not pretty, dominant or comfortable. But Klopp’s men kept going until the very end and got their reward.
Away at Villa Park, the Merseyside club were sloppy. Until the 87th minute, they were 1-0 down, expected to FINALLY drop points. Even an equaliser seemed unlikely. But they somehow managed to win 3 points against ALL odds. A 94th minute header from Sadio Mane in the last seconds of the game, unbelievable.
Away at Crystal Palace. Psychologically, a bogey team that famously broke fans’ hearts in 2013/14. 1-1 in the 82nd minute after Zaha equalises for the Eagles. Surely THIS time, they won’t reclaim the lead. But just 3 minutes later, Roberto Firmino wins 3 points for the Champions League holders.
Now today at Carrow Road against Norwich. Because everyone now expects them to win, perhaps the Canaries were fired up to give the European champions a hard game. It clearly was too with the home side going close to scoring. But yet again, the visitors showed their heart and relentless pursuit of 3 points. Sadio Mane scoring in the 78th minute to take the Reds ever so closer to being champions.
On all of these occasions, Liverpool haven’t been flawless. In fact, they’ve been sloppy a lot of the time. But they fight until the final whistle and find a way to win. The mentality of Premier League champions from yesteryear.
‘A bit’ of luck along the way…
There’s no question they’ve had a lot of luck along the way. LiVARpool as they’re labelled on Twitter with the countless number of contentious decisions that have gone their way. But that can only take you so far and every side has some decisions that go in their favour. Perhaps Liverpool have had more than your average league champions. But that is also down to the flaws of VAR, something we all agree is ruining the league.
Winning dirty is an underrated skill, a skill that Klopp’s men have mastered. What makes this team different from the side that came so close in 2013/14 with a similar points lead is this mentality. They just don’t look like they’re going to lose, even when everything is going against them. Hence why, even if they get some key injuries, I believe this psychological edge Liverpool have will be enough to bring the Premier League to Anfield for the first time.
The best side in Premier League history?
5 more wins for the title, 12 more games before they’re invincible. Like it or not, we are witnessing greatness from Klopp and his unstoppable machine. They’re on 76 points in February, more than Manchester United 1996/97 side’s league winning tally. The league finishes in May…
Arsenal’s Invincibles and City’s Centurions are at risk of losing their exclusivity. Liverpool could break both records this season, which if not already, would give them an incredibly convincing argument for the best team in Premier League history. That’s a topic for another day and another article perhaps. Either way, they are mentality monsters and for a neutral, it’s surreal to witness.
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