Liverpool, Red Band of Brothers
It’s fair to say Arsenal are having a bit of a mixed season. Their recent results have been erratic to say the least. Three wins, two draws and two losses in all competitions in their last seven games, since the impressive 4:2 league victory over a high flying Tottenham side on 2nd December.
The jury is still out on new manager, 47 years old, Unai Emery. The three in a row Europa League winning manager with Sevilla and French Ligue 1 winner last season with Paris Saint-Germain is finding the Premier League a whole lot different.
Things don’t get any tougher than coming up against an in form Liverpool on Saturday, with a late kickoff at 5:30. Jürgen Klopp will be looking to get one over Emery after the heartbreak of losing to his Sevilla team in the Europa League Final in 2016. Although, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyan is currently top scorer in the Premier League with 12 goals and poses the biggest threat to the Liverpool defence, Mo Salah is only one goal behind in the quest for the golden boot, in his goal (pun intended) to win his second one in a row.
Games between Liverpool and Arsenal are rarely boring and have produced some of the best games in the history of the English league.
Some of my favourite games from the past include the, 19 year old, Robbie Fowler four an a half minute hat trick in 1994 against a hapless David Seaman.
The 2001 FA Cup Final where Michael Owens scores a brace in the dying stages of the game to come from 1:0 down to win the FA Cup. This was our treble winning season under Gerard Houllier.
And finally the 3:3 draw at Highbury last Christmas was a crazy game. With Arsenal 2:0 down with goals by Coutinho and Salah, the Gunners one minute after Salah’s goal, scored three in an incredible five minutes of madness. It was end to end stuff, with either team capable of scoring. Roberto Firmino scoring Liverpool’s third to earn a point in this pulsating draw, under Jürgen Klopp.
Liverpool are currently breaking all kinds of records at Club level and League level. With an unprecedented record number of points in a league campaign at this stage of any season in their history. The fans aren’t shouting it from the rooftops just yet, even after the 3:1 demolition of Manchester United which ultimately cost Mourinho his job. No it’s too early for that kind of thinking about, whisper it; The Premier League title. Almost 30 years of barrenness and heartbreaking moments have made us wary. Yet we know we’ve something special in this current squad of players.
This Red Band of Brothers, who’ll run into the ground for the team, play out of position and sit on the bench without a sound of dissent. For the greater good of the cause. Klopp has instilled a steel core belief amongst this elite group of athletes. The steeliness that was missing in the 2014 campaign under Brendan Rodgers. Back then we’d a world class player in Luis Suarez, whom, along with Coutinho and Gerrard were the backbone of a Liverpool team. Take those three out, we were left with a very ordinary looking squad.
The Strength of the squad
Fast forward four years on and it’s a Liverpool squad boasting one of the most lethal attacks in Europe, along with one of the meanest defence in the Premier League and a formidable Goalkeeper between the posts. The problems and issues with defending and goalkeepers seem a distant thing of the past.
Critics still have their opinions about our midfield and how Klopp rotates players in the middle. I personally think we’re blessed to have a player of the ability of Gigi Wijnaldum, who’s a great asset to the squad and the evergreen, James Milner. The asute signings of Xherdan Shaqiri and the vastly improving, Fabinho are the vital cogs to bring silverware to Liverpool. Naby Keïta has yet to show his real potential, but is useful to have whenever required, like Jordan Henderson is. He does what’s required of him when asked. I predict next season he’ll really show what he’s made of. But for now this season these men of steel have a mission to fulfill.