We labelled the last two months at Liverpool a ‘Premier League season-defining period’ back in September. So how did they do?
The claim came just after Liverpool’s defeat at Napoli and three days before the Reds travelled to Stamford Bridge. That Chelsea game was the beginning of an incredible two months that would see Liverpool face four of last season’s top six.
They’d also take on Leicester City at Anfield while even the ‘easier’ games – Sheffield United and Aston Villa – would be away.
The Leicester, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City games would all come after Champions League matches, too.
So, how did they do? Here’s the results.
Chelsea away – 2-1 win
Sheffield United away – 1-0 win
Leicester home – 2-1 win
Manchester United away – 1-1 draw
Tottenham home – 2-1 win
Aston Villa away – 2-1 win
Manchester City home – 3-1 win
That’s six wins from seven, 19 points from 21. A sensational run of form, considering what Liverpool were up against. But it’s not all straightforward.
For one thing, Liverpool kept one clean sheet in that time. That’s quite strange, seeing as their defence was stellar last season. But again, you’d have to mention the quality of opposition.
The other thing that stands out is the margin of victory. Quite bizarrely, Liverpool’s biggest win was over City – no one else suffered more than a one-goal defeat.
The wins against Sheffield United, Leicester and Villa were by the skin of their teeth. Now, you can look at that and wonder if this form is sustainable. Or you can say that Liverpool always find a way to win – even when the probably shouldn’t.
Perhaps Liverpool would look more dominant over a less pressure-riddled period in their season. We’ll find out if that is the case over the next two months, anyway, when Liverpool play more ‘routine’ fixtures.
But for now, we finished that article saying that Liverpool would be strong favourites for the title if they still led the league. Well, here we are after that difficult two months with the Reds six points clear.
They’re strong, strong favourites for the title.