Graham Ruthven: Liverpool are luckier than most, but the best teams always are

Where’s the rabbit’s foot lads? Tell us?

Luck manifests itself in many different ways. Manchester City’s run to lifting last season’s FA Cup was, for many, lucky, with Pep Guardiola’s side going all the way without facing a single top half Premier League team.

VAR has also blurred the lines of luck when it comes to refereeing decisions, not that it mattered to Spurs fans last year.

Whatever your beliefs on how Lady Luck’s smile shows itself, it’s difficult to argue Liverpool haven’t had more than their fair share of good fortune in recent times.

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What happened on Saturday defied logic to such an extent that luck was the only way to explain it away.

Seemingly on course to drop points for the first time this season, Liverpool were toiling. Badly. This was their worst display of the campaign so far. And then Dean Henderson, who up until that point had been solid, allowed a tame Georginio Wijnaldum to squirm through his hands and under his legs.

It was enough to maintain Liverpool’s winning run, keeping their five-point lead over Man City at the top of the Premier League table intact, and enough to rile their rivals who have grown tired of the Reds getting the rub of the green.

There was the late winner against Everton in last season’s Merseyside derby, when Jordan Pickford misjudged a harmless cross allowing Divock Origi to score in stoppage time, not before the ball had also bounced twice on the top of the crossbar.

There was also the contentious penalty kick awarded just 22 seconds into the Champions League final, as well as countless soft spot-kicks given to Mohamed Salah over the course of the 2018/19 season.

The number of big moments defined by a slice of Liverpool luck in recent times has been quite remarkable.

There is no denying that Klopp’s team have been lucky, but the best teams always are.

What we have seen from The Reds recently isn’t much different to the levels of good fortune enjoyed by previous frontrunners.

It’s true that the sort of freak fortune Liverpool have been the beneficiary of is uncommon, but Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United were just as lucky. That manifested itself in the way of fortuitous penalty awards and generous amounts of stoppage time  – but make no mistake that this also counts as luck.

Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid side were also accused of riding their luck to three straight Champions League titles, but they got that good fortune because of their positive outlook. They put themselves in a position to be the beneficiaries of luck through having more shots, through being on the front foot more often, through attacking. The same applies to Klopp’s Liverpool.

Of course, it’s important to counter that Liverpool, as things are right now, are probably the best team in European football. Jurgen Klopp has built an exceptional team capable of challenging domestically and on the continent.

Even without the good luck of the past 18 months or so, they would have enjoyed great success.

In Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Salah, Liverpool boast three players who test opponents in a way few others do.

This pushes them to their limits, forcing them into decisions they wouldn’t normally make.

This is the psychology that leads to the sort of mistakes we have seen from the likes of Henderson and Pickford.

Liverpool push opponents outside their comfort zone and from that comes freak errors.

Those who find Liverpool’s good luck offensive better buckle up.

As long as Klopp sticks to the same principles there will be more moments like the one that gifted the Reds three points on Bramall Lane on Saturday.

You can count on them. Winning teams tend to be lucky teams. Liverpool have proved that the two are synonymous with each other.

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