It’s been a week since Liverpool put on a masterful display against league leaders Manchester City. A week since:
This time last week…
Salah ? pic.twitter.com/3F74zruoQY
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 21, 2018
But that is now in the past, and they must look forward to Monday, where they will be visiting Liberty Stadium to take on Swansea City, who they beat 5-0 on Boxing Day. On paper, this should not even be a contest. The Reds currently sit in fourth place with 47 points in 23 games, three points behind Chelsea, but with a game in hand, while Swansea sits dead last with 17 points through 23 matches.
But if you have kept up with Liverpool the last few years, you know these are the most dangerous games for them and ones they tend to lose for some reason or another. They don’t bring out the same energy, just look rusty and lack sharpness, or look plain bad.
They always play the top teams in the league well. Their problem has been beating the teams they are supposed to. Liverpool is a good team, not a great one. Great ones beat the teams they are supposed to be and see games through. That is an undervalued aspect of any team in any sport.
People take for granted that their team will beat up on the terrible ones. However, they fail to realize that even the terrible teams have players that are professionals, so they do have some talent. Winning in professional sports isn’t easy, and soccer is arguably the toughest one to keep consistency in because you rely on all 11 guys.
In basketball, you can be carried by one guy. In American football, you hardly see slumps, just a bad game from a player here or there. The defenses and offensive lines show up every week. They never slump. Baseball is full of highs and lows, but everything will average out. And one player can win a game for you whether it be a terrific outing from a pitcher or a big hit from a batter.
In soccer, there is only so much one guy can do because he needs to depend on his teammates. Thus, when one guy lacks sharpness, it seems as if the whole team follows suit. You can be on a terrific roll, but then all of a sudden hit a rough patch of three to four games where everyone will freak out, or you can continuously go through highs and lows.
A striker can score a game in three straight games and goe four straight without one and then everyone will question what’s wrong with him. There are numerous examples. Look at Sergio Aguero. He’s had a good season for Man City but was trashed for his lousy game against Liverpool. Things can change 180 degrees just like that.
Look at Arsenal. Everyone is always complaining about them and how they’ve struggled all season, but then on Saturday won 4-1. Things literally change week-to-week. This is why Liverpool need to be wary. They are on an emotional high and going on the road against the worst team in the league. Emotional highs have a way of working against you and handling them is the biggest opponent for a team.
Beating the best team in the league and following up with a game against the worst, which you happened to demolish? That’s a dangerous combination. The mentalities are going to be different, but they shouldn’t. You have to treat every opponent as your equal, if not better, no matter the record. That is how you keep the hunger to win and win convincingly.
Jurgen Klopp needs to ready the troops for the ultimate trap game and hope his team doesn’t lay an egg.