Hold onto Your Butts, Liverpool’s Season Defining Moment is Here

Typically, I hate the sort of chat that goes into calling a game or even a couple of games “season defining.” Usually, it’s poor logic, exaggerative or just the media attempting to drum up enthusiasm for a match or run of matches such as the festive period. But for Liverpool, there is a legitimate feeling that the next run of games may in fact be season defining.

It’s not unusual for a match against Manchester United to feel important. It is always a big occasion, it is always filled with vitriol and the potential for red cards. But this one has something extra tied to it. In a season where Murphy’s law has been applied to the Reds, we find ourselves approaching the halfway mark trailing them for the first time since times I only chose to remember when it’s necessary.

Looking at this season, we can relive VAR controversies that have robbed the Reds of at least four points, we can rue our luck with injuries and debate a lack of January signings when all the dust settles. But there’s only one thing that matters for this one. Just fucking win!

The season starts today. Halfway, three points off the pace. It’s a position Liverpool can and should be considered title favorites from, but the moment is here for the Champions to play like Champions in the making.

Liverpool has been in its worst vain of form in the last calendar year during its previous three Premier League matches, draws with West Brom and Newcastle and a loss at Southampton. It’s not just the results that frighten you, it’s the the play, the energy within the team. There’s been a palpable frustration, a swagger gone amiss. The current nine day break couldn’t come soon enough as we’ve seen few periods under Klopp that were less imaginative or inspiring.

The team needs a good performance desperately to turn a corner and make a run into the spring with title hopes intact. There are no shortage of challenges, and how Jurgen Klopp responds to them will say a lot about what comes next.

The Long Winter

We can talk about who should start at center back until the cows come home, we can very precisely say this match, this run of matches, is exactly why FSG need to be willing to spend money. While the owners don’t want to spend money, a loss in this match could put the Reds into a precarious position, where the title is no longer the sole focus, but rather, a top four finish may have to suffice as they pursue silverware on other fronts.

No fan is willing to accept simply writing off this season due to injuries and circumstance, nor should they be. These next 10 matches are all too crucial to our hopes for lifting a trophy this season. Over that span we’ll play:

· Manchester United (H)

· Burnley (H)

· Manchester United (A) FA Cup

· Tottenham (A)

· West Ham (A)

· Brighton (H)

· Manchester City (H)

· Leicester City (A)

· Red Bull Leipzig (A)

· Everton (H)

In that spell of games we play four potential title rivals, but certainly five teams we are duking it out for top four with. Emerge from that spell with results like the Reds have managed recently and top four isn’t even a likely achievement this season. In one week, our fiercest rivals could damage our title hopes and end any chance of a consolation prize in the form of a domestic cup.

I have no doubt that Jurgen Klopp has a plan for this period. He will have spent months working on it, calculating how to get key players ready for it and this weekend, we need to see them come out of the gates flying. Players like Trent Alexander-Arnold, who desperately needs a good performance to turn his season around. Thiago could have a true coming out party after a lengthy spell on the sidelines injured. The front three, who have looked disconnected and drowned out of late, could stamp their authority over the league once again and run rampant over a Manchester defense that is suspect.

To drop a Beatles reference in, the season is a long and winding road and it’s led us to this door. What lies ahead on the other side is more football matches of a certain intensity. If you’re wondering whether or not the squad is up to it, this match will be all the indicator you should need. If they struggle and come away with a draw, it may simply be a case of the grind continues. A loss could see the beginning of the end of this incarnation of the team ahead of a busy summer.

But if they kick that door in and go gallivanting over the threshold, reclaiming their position atop the table, then I don’t give a rat’s ass what some groundhog in Pennsylvania says. The long winter is going to be full of sunshine and Spring will be here soon enough. There is rarely so much riding on one fixture, but the world is full of rarities these days. So be it. See you Sunday.