So far 2013 has been a pleasant surprise for all Liverpool fans. It’s been awhile since we approached mid-December in 2nd place on the ladder. We’ve certainly had our share of ups and downs, and recent injuries are bringing us back into the latter category as we head into the “gauntlet” with three away matches against clubs I expect to be competing for a coveted top 4 place. Brendan Rodgers has stated that he wants to average two points per match, because 76 points at the end of the season is usually good enough to finish top 4. It’s a fantastic goal, and after our 4-1 thrashing at Anfield to West Ham, we’re on target. But don’t be fooled, that average is likely to slip after the holidays. At Tottenham on Sunday, home to Cardiff City, away to Man City and then away to Chelsea are the next four slated matches. Two wins and two draws are required to remain on pace, and that seems unlikely, especially with injuries to Sturridge and Gerrard until January.
I was flipping through the channels last week and came across the great sports movie “Miracle” about the 1980 U.S. men’s Olympic hockey team. They were just about to play the Soviet Union in the medal round. Kurt Russell was playing the late great hockey coach Herb Brooks. I don’t know if this quote was really said by Brooks or if it was creatively added by Hollywood, but it holds true for Liverpool this week. Prior to the game as the players nervously waited to get on the ice, Brooks started his pep talk. “Great moments are made from great opportunities.” I can’t think of a more appropriate theme for Liverpool headed into this stretch run. Let’s say we defeat Cardiff at home, and perhaps steal some results against an overrated Spurs team or even Chelsea or Man City. We then can close out the Christmas stretch with a vengeful home win to Hull City and be right where we need to be. Then with half the season remaining, we’ll pick up in January with a healthy and rested Gerrard and Sturridge and a fresh transfer window open to restock the talent pool. But most importantly, Liverpool will have a favorable schedule ahead including home matches to Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester City… all clubs with top 4 aspirations along with the Reds. It’s true we have to go to Old Trafford later on, but we’ll probably just be sending United that much closer to the relegation zone. Hey, I can dream.
So remember to get down to the pub this weekend and root the boys on to victory over Spurs! It can be the start to a great moment, because it’s built upon a great opportunity. Come on the Reds!