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The Title Race 2023/24- Jurgen's Last Dance

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alonsoisared:
With just 15 games to go, European football on its way back and the first cup final of the season looming, it's starting to feel like the business end of the season. Another title challenge beckons, our last under the Shankly of my generation. Let the hysteria commence.

Yesterday was the definition of a mood killer. The reds had been limping through games up to Christmas, getting wins without playing their best football, but exploded into life through January, culminating in the dismantling of Chelsea in midweek. A result and performance up there with anything else produced in the Klopp era. There was real hope that we might all but kill off Arsenal and make a big statement yesterday, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. A game too far with our current injuries, perhaps, but we still remain top. Personally, I felt an odd sense of calm. It's one result at a very tough ground, and things are still in our hands.

There's an obvious sense reading this forum that many of us are somewhat scarred by title challenges of old. The year we won it was on the back of a frankly preposterous run of form up until February, every challenger blown away and left in the dust by Boxing Day. The tight challenges of the last decade we have ultimately come up short. Part of the calmness after yesterday, for me at least, is that contrary to how those races are talked about, 2 of them we had to chase down a big lead and were never favourites. In 2022 we gave City a hearty head start- at one point in the second half of the season we were a whopping 11 points behind, admittedly with a game in hand. in 13/14 the same, we trailed City and Chelsea by some margin and needed to be perfect just to get in with a shout. This year we haven't left ourselves in a position where we need to overcome a massive lead, we've set ourselves up perfectly heading into the business end.

18/19 was the only time we really went toe to toe with City for a whole season, and those draws with Everton and United particularly stand out. We thought at the time that they might be decent results, but ultimately they were the afternoons where we relinquished control, never to wrestle it back. Understandable, then, that yesterday's result was such a tough one to take. But, the power is still in our hands. At this point in time, man for man, I don't think either City or Arsenal are any stronger than us. With City still to come to Anfield, perhaps this could be the time to lay the ghosts of 13/14, 18/19 and 21/22 to bed by coming out on top in a close run race.

Here are our remaining fixtures.

Burnley (H)
Brentford (A)
Luton (H)
Forest (A)
Man City (H)
Everton (A)
Brighton (H)
Sheffield Utd (H)
United (A)
Palace (H)
Fulham (A)
West Ham (A)
Tottenham (H)
Villa (A)
Wolves (H)

The standouts there (other than the obvious City game at Anfield), just to strike the fear of 18/19 back into us all, are the sight of Old Trafford, Goodison and a final home match against Wolves. How many will we need to win? A lot depends on the damage De Bruyne and Haaland can do on their return. Recent history makes us fear that it might have to be all 15. The actual form of the top three over the course of the season suggests that possibly 12 or 13, if one of them is City, should be enough.

A little plea for calm. For myself as much as everyone else. Jurgen's last dance. We all want success anyway, but I think Klopp's announcement has made us even more desperate to add another Premier League trophy. The thought of him "only" winning 1 just doesn't seem right given how unbelievably good he has been for us. The thought of him and his squad being denied a full Anfield and a parade after finally breaking the 30 year duck. If footballing justice exists then he gets the goodbye to end all goodbyes, paraded in front of the Kop vs Wolves with the trophy in his hands. Then, if we're being greedy, a European final in Dublin and an FA Cup final at Wembley to top it all off. But we know all too well that these things very rarely pan out that way. Football can be cruel. Gerrard's slip, falling short by a matter of millimetres in 2019, City's final day comeback in 2022. Let's not let this final season define his era, or spend too much time thinking about might have been without the cheats down the road. Let's try and enjoy the ride- you never know how long we might have to wait for the next shot at glory, and even if we win multiple leagues under a different manager, things may not ever quite feel the same without our current boss.

If there is a lesson to be learned from the past, perhaps it's that there is such a thing as wanting it too much . Maybe cooler heads in 2014 sees us through that Chelsea game, or seals the win vs Palace that at least puts a bit more pressure on City ahead of their final 2 games. Maybe if Arsenal didn't celebrate every goal from November onwards last season as if it was the 90th minute of the Champions League Final, they wouldn't have shit the bed when the business end came round. City have won titles with absolute ice in their veins. Our glorious team of 19/20 were the same- never phased, never bothered, never overly emotional.

I remember that 2019 Champions League final, how different it felt to Kiev the year before. We arrived a day later then the year before in the lead up to the game and absolutely exuded calm. We landed in Madrid nice and late, won the game and got the fuck back out again. No dramas, no nerves, mentality monsters all the way. Everyone, fanbase included, just seemed convinced we'd get the job done and that's how it worked out. Anfield will, I'm sure, be a cauldron in the run in especially with the news that Jurgen is in the midst of his last dance. But as a fanbase, I think it is important that we stay calm in games, believe in the team and not turn things too frantic. I genuinely believe it makes a difference.

City play tonight with the chance to put destiny back in their hands. On a good run of their own, it's a worrying proposition for the rest. But I for one absolutely believe in this team and this manager. We've beaten them before. We have quality all over the pitch, performances have really started to pick up and we have some crucial first team players arriving back in the squad right when we need them. We're the only other team in the league this last decade that have shown that we can also stick a run of 15 wins together. On paper, we have a fairly nice run of games to come.

Don't let yesterday bring you down. With this coach and this group of players, everything is still possible. Can we lift number 20 in May?

TheMightyReds:
Back in the saddle again. Liverpool are back chasing titles.  8)

We have on paper a decent last 15 fixtures. Thatís 45 points to play for. Klopp and co will have done the maths and know itíll take a 90pt season to be 100% sure of winning this. Of all the games left the key game that will be a six pointer is the Anfield encounter with Manchester City.

In our favour is that game being at home. Other positives we have is the sheer number of goals from all over.

ManUtd and Everton will be tricky. They'll want to spoil, but really we could do without this going to the last day.

tubby:

--- Quote from: TheMightyReds on February  5, 2024, 05:04:55 pm ---ManUtd and Everton will be tricky. They'll want to spoil, but really we could do without this going to the last day.
--- End quote ---

Those two will be slogs, but not anywhere near as tough as City and Arsenal away.  There'll be little threat from both of them in comparison.

Vegeta:
The Man Utd and Everton away games worry me we have had some very underwhelming 1st half performances away from home and got away with it at times. Man city is strong favourites unfortunately they rarely make mistakes in the run in and once they smell blood and an opening they are completely ruthless the cheating c*nts.

Legs:

--- Quote from: TheMightyReds on February  5, 2024, 05:04:55 pm ---Back in the saddle again. Liverpool are back chasing titles.  8)

We have on paper a decent last 15 fixtures. Thatís 45 points to play for. Klopp and co will have done the maths and know itíll take a 90pt season to be 100% sure of winning this. Of all the games left the key game that will be a six pointer is the Anfield encounter with Manchester City.

In our favour is that game being at home. Other positives we have is the sheer number of goals from all over.

ManUtd and Everton will be tricky. They'll want to spoil, but really we could do without this going to the last day.

--- End quote ---

Ideally we want it done early doors but if you said to me now a win against Wolves wins us the title Iíd shake your hand and say Iíll take that all day long.

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