Happy New Year everyone! With the dawning of a brand new year comes the hopes and dreams and promises to try new things or finally finish some long-held resolutions. It’s no different for the Reds this season, so here are a few resolutions they can look to make and follow through on:
1. Stop Conceding First
Liverpool continue to live dangerously this season as they conceded first yet again only to find a way to pull the result out of the fire against Leicester. Thanks to some really fluky bounces and timely plays, the Reds finished 2022 with all 3 points and kept their march back up to the top four going. However, being behind all the time is putting way too much pressure on the team (and us supporters). Credit where it is due as Liverpool have managed to find ways back after going behind but it is not a situation that will help long term as game management and stress levels will only increase from here on out. As seen recently with Spurs, constantly being behind means you will drop points and always giving your opponent belief is exactly what they need to pull off upsets. This has to stop and Liverpool need to make a real effort to return to the game frontrunners status in 2023 ASAP.
2. Be Patient
It’s a common refrain but we all need to be patient with some of our newer players. Gakpo has yet to even finalize his paperwork and it’ll remain to be seen where Jurgen Klopp wants to deploy him. If he doesn’t manage to score in his first game or two that does not make him a bust. Those sorts of hot takes are fun for banter but they do little to actually take in the full scope of things. New players, especially to new leagues will take time to bed in and when it’s a system that demands lots of energy and concentration, it’s that much trickier to fly out the gate. That said, I think Cody should find life at Anfield a lot of fun and look forward to seeing what he contributes. His signing is a welcome addition to an attack that due to injuries looks a little bare and hopefully, he’ll inject some much-needed verve and take mounting pressure off Salah and Darwin.
Speaking of Nunez, everyone needs to relax with him as well. The goals will indeed come. No, he is not Haaland, who looks to be just a generational talent, someone who can score goals without basically touching the ball until the final 3rd. That’s okay, there are very few players in the history of football that have his talent and raw potential. Darwin has his own abilities and has shown them already both in flashes and form. He has lightning pace and a desire to get involved in every possession. He routinely creates chances as well which is important because chances will lead to more goals.
What he still needs to refine a bit is the sense of calm that all elite strikers display. As seen already from his early season red card, he is a player who is governed by passion and energy which can at times lead him to be too hyperactive in the box and final third. His pace and height allow him the chance to get sights on goal, now he just needs to take that extra second to breathe, like all of the supporters do too, and the goals will come. I fully believe he’ll finish with upwards of 20 goals this season if given the opportunity.
3. Solve The Midfield
A lot of this will come down to whether Liverpool bring in another player or two in January but hopefully they do find reinforcements in the midfield. It remains the area where Liverpool have been below their elite best. With age, injury and just general mileage beginning to really creep in, an addition of some real grit and energy will bridge the gap that has seen Liverpool dip below form. The bigger names might be a pipedream until the summer but at least one more player ready to jump in the tackle and spell the likes of Hendo, Fab and Thiago are essential if the Reds want to salvage any silverware this season. Liverpool likes to get their business done quietly and often early, so for now we all wait with hope and a constantly refreshing news feed to see what transpires next.
As mentioned in a previous piece, I’d love to see a player like Tyler Adams or perhaps the often mentioned Amrabat come into the fold as both have shown they can command a midfield and are perfectly in the age profile to be long term signings as well as helping right away. Jude and Enzo would be dreams of course but their big transfer fees make next summer much more likely, though stranger things have happened!
4. Keep Up The Pressure
Despite all the talk of the sky falling and even some absurd shouts of manager changes early in the season, as things stand right now, Liverpool are 4 points below top 4 with more than half the season remaining. For sure, they have looked shaky at times and been handed some humbling defeats but to throw the baby out with the bathwater is not the approach that have gotten us here. Chopping and changing the team and manager is the view taken by other clubs to increasingly diminished returns. The Reds have a run of very winnable games if they maintain their momentum and improve in key areas and by the time the Champions League returns in mid-February, the season and table could look much more to our liking.
I will concede that both Arsenal and Man City seem like they are runaway title favourites as of right now, with Arsenal especially playing some great football. However, they haven’t done this before and will now have the very unfamiliar role as the target. How they cope with sustained pressure all season long means they are no sure thing to stay in front. City, of course, are City, but even with a sizeable gap at the top, so many of the players involved have not yet proven they can maintain their composure and form.
What this means for Liverpool is that right now and for the next month or so, it’s about taking care of our own business. The only way to climb a mountain is one step at a time, one victory at a time. A nice long period of results will help build momentum as the marquee games loom ahead and will keep us well entertained through the winter months to come.
5. Enjoy The Present
Most important of all, at the beginning of every new year, is to be thankful for what we have and savour the moments. Life moves so very fast at times, and it is vital to just be present with each day. Enjoy the company we keep and the opportunities we have, both as fans and as people living in this present day. That we can root for our team and wind up our opponents while still demanding better and holding everyone accountable is essential to progress.
Wishing everyone a great 2023, YNWA!