Liverpool. Have you seen them? They might just win forever, you know. Seven from seven. Hardly conceding. Like Usain Bolt jogging the last 20 meters of a Diamond League event. Everything in their stride, hardly with their foot on the gas. Looking magnificent.
They probably won’t win forever, like. Forever is a long time. But we feel pretty invincible in Liverpool at the moment, well in the red three-quarters anyway. And that’s a feeling that’s worth persevering for as long as possible. Partly because it feels really, really good. But also because Liverpool, the team and the city, work better when they are on a roll.
Which is why I think this week’s Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea is bigger than some people are making out. Firstly, it is a chance to win another game of football, keep that momentum going and beat another top club in the process.
But it is also a chance for a trophy. Not a huge one, admittedly, but we need to be honest and say Liverpool haven’t won anything since 2012, and that was a League Cup too, so beggars can’t be choosers. For all of our illustrious history, and plenty of recent brilliant nights, the cold facts are finishing in the Champions League places and winning the Carabao Cup would represent our most successful season in more than ten years. So we can’t be too snobby.
I guess the counter is, even with Liverpool’s recent record, this current squad is capable of so much more, so we are better focusing our energies into other things. But the tournament really doesn’t need to be seen as a distraction. In three of the last five years the League Cup winners have ended up Premier League champions. In comparison no one has done the league and FA Cup double since 2010. So if anything that should be the competition you sacrifice if you want to win the league. But we’ll save that one for another day.
Winning the first trophy possible could be a great springboard for this team and a key driver it needs in gaining belief that it can go from nice football team to team that wins things. For Klopp, getting rid of his “losing finals” tag sooner rather than later would be most welcome too. Almost everything points to League Cup success being good for the future of this side.
But that doesn’t mean having to play the same players forever. Especially with Chelsea again, a trip to Napoli and a home game against Manchester City coming very quickly after. Jurgen Klopp has already said Simon Mignolet will play in goal, an indication that there will be many changes for this game.
So far Liverpool have hardly rotated at all; the three changes for the Southampton game almost came as a surprise. The likes of Daniel Sturridge, Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita and (especially) Fabinho have waited patiently and should all start on Wednesday night. But we are hardly talking about playing the kids here. They are international footballers who would grace most first teams in the country and will be hungry to show their worth.
Liverpool added quality in the summer but have largely just used trusted favourites so far.
Now is the time for the squad to prove their worth and see if we are capable of challenging on several fronts at once. But nothing should be thrown away. That’s not how big clubs act. And Liverpool should be determined to prove they are one again.