Good things come to those who wait?
After all those years. It’s finally here.
Yes, this blog has a new post.
Oh, and Liverpool won the Premier League.
If there was ever an ideal opportunity to shake off the cobwebs of this forgotten blog, now seems like the perfect timing (given your author is, naturally, a Liverpool supporter).
It’s probably a stretch to suggest that the 2019/20 Premier League campaign ever really threatened to develop into any form of “title race” given Liverpool’s complete dominance. However, considering there was a solitary point between Liverpool and rivals Manchester City at the finale of the 2018/19 season, for the most part, this was a campaign expected to be fought out by the English game’s two emerging forces.
Here’s where the title was won and lost.
14/9/19 – Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle / Norwich 3-2 Man City
Liverpool’s perfect start to the season – five wins from five – continued in the day’s early kick-off. Despite an early scare delivered by a worldie Jetro Willems strike, the Reds recovered thanks to an inspired substitute performance from Roberto Firmino.
Later in the day, Man City suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to recently promoted Norwich – back when the Canaries won the occasional football match and Teemu Pukki scored goals. With City’s draw against Spurs also to account for, a gap had already appeared.
POINTS GAP – 5
5/10/19 – Liverpool 2-1 Leicester
6/10/19 – Man City 0-2 Wolves
Brendan Rodgers’ return to Anfield offered Liverpool perhaps their toughest assignment to date. Sadio Mane put the home side ahead before James Maddison equalised late on. Jurgen Klopp’s men drove on for a winner and were rewarded with a 95th minute penalty, converted by the unflappable James Milner.
The following day Adama Traore announced himself as one of leading danger men in the Premier League. As City poured forward to find an elusive winner, Traore struck two breakaway goals to take the three points.
POINTS GAP – 8
2/11/19 – Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
10/11/19 – Liverpool 3-1 Man City
Despite salvaging a late draw against Manchester United, Liverpool had won nine of their 10 matches in the Premier League to date. Villa Park offered the Reds biggest fright to date, however. Liverpool were a goal down until the 87th minute when Andy Robertson’s back post header looked to have rescued a point. That wasn’t satisfactory for this side, though. Spurred on by Trent Alexander-Arnold’s superb creativity on the day, the youngster’s corner found Mane for a 94th minute winner.
City had also been behind at the same time in their game against Southampton at the Etihad but recovered in similar fashion to win 2-1.
Going into the following weekend, the clash between Liverpool and City was billed as a decisive moment in whether Pep Guardiola’s side could get a footing in the “title race”. Liverpool simply blew them away. Fabinho’s stunner, Mohammed Salah’s header and Mane’s goal following a sublime Jordan Henderson cross wrapped up the three points and extended the advantage at the top with City down in 4th.
POINTS GAP – 9 (City in 4th)
26/12/19 – Leicester City 0-4 Liverpool
If Liverpool’s win over Man City wasn’t emphatic enough, another team that the anti-Liverpool brigade were hoping would stop them in their tracks was Leicester. The Foxes had been on an eight match winning run that was halted by Man City just prior to Liverpool’s 0-4 destruction job.
The Reds had been away and become World Champions before returning to Premier League action and winning ways thanks to two goals from Firmino, a Milner penalty and a bullet from Alexander-Arnold.
POINTS GAP – 14 (City in 3rd)
19/1/20 – Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United
At this point it had become less about the others and more about Liverpool extending their unprecedented run and procession to the title. Going into the game, Liverpool had played 21, won 20, drew one. City had dropped further points to Wolves (again), United and Crystal Palace.
Long-term rivals Manchester United had more incentive than most to break the unbeaten run but were put to one side with ease. The colossal Virgil van Dijk scored a towering header before Firmino was cruelly denied a first home goal of the season by VAR.
United made an attempt in vein to equalise late on before Salah raced clear from Alisson’s clearance, scored, threw his shirt off and, at that moment, even the most sceptical Red knew it was won.
POINTS GAP – 16 POINTS (With Liverpool having one game in hand)
While some virus that made the news a bit delayed Liverpool’s pending title celebrations by a few months, the lead continued to grow before and since the resumption of the season with Klopp and Co. currently on course to break City’s 100 point record.
On the subject of waiting again, four years ago I asked the question – “Had Klopp been a success?“.
After those four years, I think we can say with certainty, “fucking too right“.
Premier League titles and blog posts. It seems good things do come to those that wait.