Three Weeks, Five Fixtures and No Rest for the Weary
“You can’t always get what you want…”
Rarely have we ever wanted so much from such a small window of time. Never have we expected everything to be delivered to us despite hardly lifting a finger.
Perhaps it’s the cost of doing business for a Liverpool team that has pulled miracles out of corner kicks and match winners from thin air more times than not in recent years. People don’t just want that magic, they need it.
Over the past couple of years, even the eternal optimists and hopeless romantics among us have struggled with life outside of football. A global pandemic, the staggering stupidity of politics, and the inability to partake in activities or consume many of the things we love in the way we did pre-pandemic have led to an incredible thirst for something magical and genuine to happen to all of us. A lot of us have found it in this team.
Even when it isn’t all that great on a week-by-week basis, there have still been incredible moments that keep you bought in. Nothing says that more than Allison Becker’s header last season.
Again and again, they find ways to keep hold of you, to keep winning and proving they are one of, if not the best team walking a pitch these days. But the league title race is different. It’s special for that very reason, it is a race. Not a head-to-head fight, but a measurement over a set time. Not having a chance at a title due to circumstances out of Liverpool’s control is difficult to stomach, especially since it’s the second time in the last four years this has happened, but it’s the nature of the league and of living in a world where Manchester City exists.
In a Different World
Liverpool is closing in on their third title in four years and is turning doubters into believers at a record pace. But that’s simply not the reality we live in.
Following Saturday’s draw with Spurs, you might be convinced that the season is over, the title is done. And you might well be right. So what if you are?
If the league is done and dusted, that leaves us with the small matter of a cup treble to complete. Ahem, I said a cup treble, as in three trophies in a single campaign. The fact that we’re watching a Liverpool team carry quadruple hopes into mid-May is perhaps enough to make the point that like the song says, you can’t always get what you want, but…..
“If you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” Three trophies in a season is euphoric levels of excitement. Think about how blissful we were after winning the first one of the bunch just a few years ago. This notion that the league is your bread and butter and that everything else is secondary is not only an oversimplification of a football campaign but indicative of how elite this Liverpool team is. The fact is, they are the only team that can really even make the argument that a league title is within reach as City sets course for yet another 90-plus point campaign.
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How Has Klopp Done it?
The way it has been managed by Jurgen Klopp is worthy of further examination and appreciation. It requires a separate post. His rotations have been brilliantly timed and made the most of the squad. His ability to instill an identity throughout the squad strong enough to succeed on four fronts is remarkable and the reason we all jumped up and down for joy last week when the club announced he’d be staying another two years.
Whether the title is gone or not, I don’t know, but we have no time to bemoan its death if so. If this team has taught us anything, it’s that they’ll go for everything and give us all they have.
Along the way, Mo Salah is likely to win the Golden Boot, Liverpool will boast the top three assist makers in the league and Allison Becker is likely to win the Golden Gloves with a few more clean sheets to his name. They are everywhere, winning just about everything. So why doubt them now just because they need a little help from fate?
I think back to that 2019 Champions League semifinal often. The most deserving Liverpool team I’d ever seen to that point had played 90 minutes in Barcelona and was staring down the barrel of yet another trophyless season despite losing just one league match during the entire campaign. They were as close to perfect as you’d ever seen a Liverpool team be and yet the stars were simply refusing to align for them. Or so we thought.
The rest is history you know all too well. This time, there’s nothing Liverpool can do themselves to overcome the deficit they face, except to be themselves, leave it all out there, and give us what we need!
What Exactly is that? Is it an EPL Title?
Five matches in three weeks. Two cup finals and a slight chance at winning a title on the final day of the season. You can sleep during the summer, this is why you woke up at 7:30 a.m. on dreary January mornings to watch Rhys Williams struggle against bottom-half opponents last season and why you lost your mind when Nat Phillips scored at Burnley. It was all to get us to this point right here, right now.
It’s not in their hands, but who can blame them? In the end, they’ll have played 63 matches over the course of the season. They’ll have silverware to show for it and we’ll have days out in the sunshine, far, far away from the storms and darkness of mediocrity.
For the next three weeks, just take this in. Enjoy it with friends, with family, I don’t care, with your stuffed animal collection if that’s your thing. Just enjoy it, because the next time you find yourself watching them pursue a quadruple and win silverware along the way, you may be very, very old. This isn’t time to put it on the back burner if you’re a supporter of this club.
Before that historic semifinal leg at Anfield, Klopp told the squad to simply try. “Just try and if we fail, fail in the most beautiful way,” he said. That moment seems to have been instilled in the culture and identity of this team and needs to extend to all of us. They will try, and if they fail, I’m pretty sure it’ll be in the most beautiful way possible.
Now it’s your turn to try and find what you need from what they give you. It’s never going to be much more than this.
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