January. Not a particularly pleasant month to start on but hey ho.
This is the first of a monthly series called ‘Review the Reds’ – I know, original. Basically I’m going to review the month we’ve had and highlight positives and negatives, if any, going into the next month.
January. DRY January should I say, and no I’m not talking about alcohol. If anything, the Reds caused me to consume more alcohol last month.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
January 2nd 2017 – Sunderland (A)
At this point there were still hopes of being in the title race, but hopes were soon shattered when the Reds failed to pick up more than a point at the Stadium of Light. Goals from Daniel Sturridge and Sadio Mané were cancelled out with penalties from Jermain Defoe. Still, we were only five points off league leaders, Chelsea, who are now THIRTEEN points ahead. A poor start to the year for the Reds.
January 8th 2017 – Plymouth Argyle (H) – FA Cup Third Round
The magic of the FA Cup meant that the youngsters failed to come out top against League Two side Plymouth, who held on for a boring goalless draw at Anfield, which meant a replay was due 6 hours south in Devon. Probably the most boring game I’ve ever been to, I actually almost fell asleep until Divock Origi scored an offside goal.
January 11th 2017 – Southampton (A) – EFL Cup Semi-final
An important first leg in the EFL quest. The Reds had flown through the competition and of course, we had to fall at the (kind of) final hurdle. Another poor performance allowed Southampton to take the lead at home and come to Anfield with confidence.
January 15th 2017 – Manchester United (A)
Another draw. Average performance. I’ll tell you the truth, I was too drunk to remember most of the game, but what I do remember wasn’t that great. Nothing stood out to me or surprised me in any way. We took the lead in the first half and bottled it in the second, nothing I haven’t seen before.
January 18th 2017 – Plymouth Argyle (A) – FA Cup Third Round Replay
Our first win of 2017. A measly 1-0 win at Home Park with a goal from none other than Lucas Leiva saw us through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
January 21st 2017 – Swansea (H)
Fuck. My. Life. This was the first game in my 20 years of being alive that I saw Liverpool lose right before my eyes. Roberto Firmino gave me hope when he scored two goals to bring us equal, and I would’ve settled for a point, but I forgot that we are Liverpool. We bottle everything. The atmosphere was dire and I think that was the point I realised that we won’t win anything this season.
January 25th 2017 – Southampton (H) – EFL Cup Semi-final
The second-leg of the semi-final. Flares and pyros filled the streets around Anfield with red smoke. The fans were ready, but were the team? Anfield was roaring for the first time in a while, everyone knew that this was our only shot of silverware this season, but Southampton posed the bigger threat and won 2-0 on aggregate. I can’t even say I didn’t see it coming, with recent performances highlighting both our attacking and defensive weaknesses.
January 28th 2017 – Wolverhampton Wanderers (H) – FA Cup Fourth Round
What better way to end a terrible week than a defeat against Wolves on your own turf. An 86th minute goal from Divock Origi provided little consolation as the Reds were eliminated from another competition within a week. A terrible choice for the starting XI from Jürgen saw the likes of Connor Randall starting, who can’t defend even if his life depends on it. Wolves scored two goals in the first half and parked the bus in the second half. As a ‘top’ Premier League side we should have been able to weave past a Championship side’s defence, but failed to do so. That’s when I was kicked straight back to reality, and the worry of whether we’ll finish in the top four kicked in.
January 31st 2017 – Chelsea (H)
League leaders, Chelsea FC. Those f***ing rentboys. Given the month we’ve had, I’d have taken a draw at best, but being there changed my mind and I genuinely thought we could win it. They opened the scoring from a free-kick taken by David Luiz, taken while Mignolet wasn’t looking. The referee’s a w***er. But it’s all good because our beloved Gini Wijnaldum saved the day with a header to secure a point. But that wasn’t all. A Joel Matip foul in the box lead to a penalty, but Simon Mignolet to the rescue!!! I hate him but boy do I love him.
A terrible month to be a Red but a decent end. It could’ve gone a lot worse, but we made the league leaders drop points. Top 4 is still achievable as the Reds finished January in 4th position, 10 points behind Chelsea on 46 points.
As we go back to one game a week, the sole focus should be on getting 3 points each week. Nothing else can distract us, and Champions League is a must next season if we want to keep our top players.
February hasn’t started well with a 0-2 loss away to Hull City, but here’s hoping that we can steal a few points off Spurs, Leicester and Arsenal in the coming weeks.