2020. A year that will always stand out in the history books. The devastating Coronavirus Pandemic which plunged the country and the World into loss and sadness has meant that everything changed. When you think about what has happened and the losses that people have suffered, it makes all the worries and arguments over football matches and VAR seem insignificant. However, football is important and in many ways, has provided a well needed distraction over the last few months. Of course for Liverpool FC, 2020 saw their first Premier League win since 1990 and marked a momentous year for the club.
The Crystal Palace match on December 19 was a definite highlight for the team and fans. A 7-0 win over Palace meant that the shocking show against Villa was almost forgiven! Goals from Salah, Henderson, Minamino, Mane and Firmino sealed an important win for the team with it being the first time the Reds have scored 7 goals in a top flight away match since they did it against Derby in 1991. The team were on fire and hungry for goals, especially Mane who was less than pleased to be subbed in the second half. The fire in their performance was a reassuring sight to all as an important statement was made by the team after weeks of injury knocks and questions on whether they are good enough to go all the way again.
There have been some other important matches for the reds in the run up to Christmas. Their victory against Wolves at the beginning of December set the tone for what was to be an interesting month of matches for the reigning champions! The Wolves game saw Liverpool fans being welcomed back to Anfield for the first time in 9 months and despite there being only a fraction of fans allowed in, they certainly made up for it in noise. Watching them sing You’ll Never Walk Alone definitely gave me goosebumps and they seemed to have a positive effect on the Reds as they went on to win 4-0 with goals from Salah, Wijnaldum, Matip and a late own goal from Semedo. VAR did rear its head when referee Craig Pawson awarded a penalty to Wolves, which he then overturned when it became clear that Sadio Mane didn’t make contact during the supposed foul. Admittedly, it was a nice change to see a VAR go our way after what feels like a barrage of decisions against us in previous games.
Their 2-1 win over Tottenham was a poignant game for the Reds as they marked the passing of former manager and honorary scouser, Gerard Houllier with a minute’s applause before the match began. Tottenham were a strong opponent throughout the game, especially in the second half but it was a 90 minute winner from Bobby Firmino which sealed the victory. The win sent the Reds back to the top of the table and was welcomed with open arms after a less than impressive performance against Fulham in which they drew 1-1 thanks to a late penalty from Salah.
2021 – New Year, new chances?
With 2021 now underway and the Reds facing Southampton on January 4th. It’s time to look ahead to the rest of the season. Liverpool are no doubt a force to be reckoned with, especially after their recent form but it’s vital they don’t slip now as they continue to miss vital players to injury such as Jota, Matip, Van Dijk and Gomez. It was a great boost to see Thiago back on the pitch during the West Brom game last week (arguably it was the best part of the entire game!) for the first time since the Derby. Moreover, myself like many other fans have been overjoyed to see Virgil Van Dijk training and getting ready to hopefully come back before the end of the season after his awful injury against Everton.
Disappointing draws, such as the aforementioned West Brom game and the goalless draw against Newcastle last week have certainly raised some talking points. A lacklustre performance with chances being missed is not what you want to see. Granted, change will happen within the teams and their performance and this is a fact which we have to accept but it is still painful to watch goals and chances missed when we should be scoring. Mr Klopp said himself that we were undeserving of a win against West Brom. It’s important that our standards don’t slip and we don’t become the team that won the league on a fluke because it was a season which was turned upside down due to the Pandemic. However, I like every fan has complete faith in the team, they know what it takes to win and they know what needs to be done and if they hold their nerve, who’s to say they can’t go all the way again?
Thank you for the Music
I was devastated to hear of the passing of Musical and Liverpool legend Gerry Marsden at the age of 78.
His voice has drifted across Anfield for decades and has been with us in our most joyous moments, lifting our spirits and celebrating big wins with us. It has also been there to unite us together in our darkest hour and remind us where we come from and who we are as a club.
It takes a truly special person to bring such life to a piece of music and Gerry and the Pacemakers did just that with You’ll Never Walk Alone, a song that means so much to millions of people around the World. There is no more magical sound than hearing the entire stadium singing along to the track before the match. His status as a Liverpool Merseybeat legend will live on forever and he will never be forgotten. Thank you, Gerry Marsden. You will be greatly missed.
“This land’s the place I love and here I’ll stay.”
Image Credits: Liverpool FC Official Facebook Page.