John Gibbons: Saturday was bad, but bookies are wrong to have Liverpool at 16/1

The weekend’s 5-0 thumping pushed The Reds out in the Premier League title betting and The Anfield Wrap writer is having none of it…


I should have known Saturday was going to be a rubbish day when I was woken up at the crack of dawn by torrential rain. So much for a lie in.

Planned match day attire had to be changed, with a new coat swapped for an old mac and scuffed shoes pulled out from other the bed.

I’m not sacrificing another new pair of trainees to the match. They’ve had enough!

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Shockingly enough the weather hadn’t improved by the time we got to Manchester. Unbelievable, I know.

Piccadilly Station is awash with people trying to find taxis to get up to the ground as the metro appears to have ground to a halt. No matter how much time you leave, you always seem to be running late for an early kick-off.

I should have probably camped out at the ground. I probably still wouldn’t have been any wetter than I was when I eventually got past the fourteen checkpoints and friendly as ever stewards at The Etihad. And I might have seen a bit more of the ‘Liverpool not getting beat’ part of the match.

The ‘Liverpool getting beat’ part was long and painful, even from the top tier of the ground where I can just about make out who plays for who. But how much can we look into it?

Is it a hammering that suggests The Reds are a long way off the standard of those likely to be challenging for the title come May?

Or a freak result swayed by an unfortunate red card at the hardest place we’ll probably have to go to all season?

As ever the future holds the answer. However, I am surprised to see us effectively written off by the bookies after one bad result that only leaves us three points off the top of the table.

Sure, this Liverpool side look flawed, but who doesn’t this season? Certainly not Manchester City, who were leaving plenty of gaps at the back themselves before Sadio Mané decided to do his best Shawn Michaels impression (one for the kids, there) and Jurgen Klopp reacted by taking off the only other Liverpool player who can run.

I think the 16-1 odds bookies are now offering is generous and well worthy of a few of the hundreds of coins I found in my pockets after a Saturday night drowning my sorrows. Apologies to the bars of Liverpool for the great change shortage of 2017. One day I’ll pay for a round of drinks with coins instead of just waving another note drunkenly in the air at a fed-up barmaid.

But in a season with plenty of twists and turns to come, I wouldn’t be writing off any of the top six just yet. Even Arsenal showed they are still adept enough at swatting away the bottom half of the table to believe they should amass enough points to be there or thereabouts again, at least for the Champions League spots.

And remember Chelsea in crisis? That was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it. It turns out the Premier League champions are quite good after all.

The Reds will infuriate and dazzle in equal measure this season.

Which of the two shows itself more we will have to wait and see.

It probably depends on how much we get to attack and how much we have to defend. But the returning Philippe Coutinho will surely help.

Especially, if he has actually spent the last month learning how to play centre half. That would be a twist no one was expecting.

We might see Phil on Wednesday, as Liverpool return to the Champions League for the first time since 2010 (we’ve all had a chat and we’ve decided to pretend that 14/15 didn’t happen).

It’s a chance to get the season back into a positive frame of mind, in a competition both the manager and team have traditionally done well in.

Might this be a more realistic route to success this season for Liverpool?

Well it depends how you define success, really. We probably won’t win it.

But, unlike our friends who thumped us on Saturday, we are determined to have fun trying.

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What do you think?