In the heady afterglow of putting Manchester City out of their Champions League misery last week and beating a spirited Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday there was an air of slight smugness around us Liverpool fans. Jürgen Klopp even mentioned in his post match press conference there had been an air of celebration around the city earlier in the week, and that he’d been concerned this may seep into the minds of his players, and their focus may have suffered as a consequence.
As it turned out Liverpool put in a highly professional performance, always controlling the tempo and only when Bournemouth felt they needed to chase the game after going 2-0 down were there any real pressure put on the Reds backline. Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren coping easily with the physical presences of Callum Chambers and Josh King. Loris Karius showed yet again that despite having very little to do over the course of the match, he was more than up to the task of keeping yet another clean sheet, Liverpool’s 15 this season.
The day before facing the Cherries, the Champions League draw gave us the chance to lock horns with Roma the vanquishers of Barcelona in the other stand out result in the quarter finals. Twitter was a-buzz with many fans writing off la Giallorossi without a ball being kicked. The Liverpool Echo also printed a story stating that Real Madrid wouldn’t relish the prospect of facing us, which itself only appeared to make more jump on the bandwagon that LFC were a shoe in to lift Ol’ Big Ears.
Anyone recall the 1988 FA Cup final? The self-proclaimed ‘Crazy Gang’ Wimbledon were perhaps the greatest example of the term “underdog”. They’d gatecrashed the top flight having won back to back promotions from non-league football, and had only been a member of the Football League for some 9 years. Surely all Liverpool had to do was simply turn up and collect the cup…..
Older Reds will also have had nightmares following that fateful day 26th May 1989 when Liverpool were poised to be 1st division champions yet again. Arsenal who hadn’t won a league title in some 18 years needed to win by 2 clear goals. Surely the occasion and what was at stake would be too much for George Graham’s men? Unfortunately the lads from North London hadn’t read the script, with goals from Alan Smith and Michael Thomas sealing a famous and seemingly improbable win and the title.
So as history has taught us, in football there is no such thing as a dead cert. Judging by Jürgen’s recent comments he isn’t likely to be looking ahead to meeting the winners of the Bayern/Real semi either. He comes across as someone who wouldn’t even put all his faith in it getting lighter in the mornings, and we as fans also need to be mindful of erring on the side of caution, certainly until we see Jordan Henderson holding the European Cup aloft, and Champions League football secured for next season once the remaining 4 Premiership fixtures have been played.
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