Sick and tired you’ve been hanging on me
You make me sad with your eyes
You’re telling me lies
Don’t go, don’t go
Now I’m not saying Pilot were a band ahead of their time or anything, but when their biggest hit single ‘January’ hit the number 1 spot in the UK charts, peculiarly on February 1st 1975, I think it was more a message, a warning to the future, than an ode to the month of January. I mean, David Paton, the man behind these chilling lyrics didn’t even write them in January. He wrote them the previous October. A master of foresight it would appear. It’s a bit like he’s The Terminator, and we’re Sarah Connor.
League titles aren’t won and lost in January. Hereditary conditions take time to filter through the system though.
It’s a fallacy to say we never used to slip up during the glory days. The trick was responding positively to those slip ups. In the glory days we did respond positively to slip ups. We took a footballing sleight personally, and someone would be made to pay for it.
Someone needs to be made to pay for us losing at home to Swansea City. Someone needs to pay for us losing at home to Southampton in the League Cup.
I have a great deal of respect for Swansea City, but this season they have been an utter shambles. No one should be losing at home to Swansea City this season. Although Crystal Palace did lose at home to Swansea City a couple of weeks ago. In fact, Swansea City have managed two Premier League wins more than we have this month so far. In fact, Swansea City have managed two Premier League wins more than we have this year so far. Swansea City also lost 4-0 at home to Arsenal a week before winning at Anfield.
Not good enough from Liverpool FC.
Liverpool FC have been a bit of a shambles during January.
A draw at Sunderland, an FA Cup draw at home to opposition from three divisions below, an insipid League Cup semi-final 1st leg at Southampton, a good performance at Old Trafford which should have garnered a victory, but didn’t, heavy weather made at Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup replay, a conspiracy of performance and events at home to Swansea City, and now we’ve crashed out of the League Cup on home soil, without so much as an adequate fight. Roll on February.
Two, season defining games, are still to be played before January expires however. Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Saturday, and Chelsea in the Premier League next Tuesday. That’s a Chelsea who are now sat 10 points ahead of us.
We ran through brick walls throughout December, to end 2016 still within relative touching distance of Chelsea. We’ve now thrown much of that hard work away. We can still make up for that though. There is still four months to go until the last ball in anger is kicked on the 2016-17 season. We can still do great things.
We’ve been handed a test of resolve, a test of character.
It is a test of resolve and character not just for those individuals out on the pitch and in the technical area, but also for those of us in the stands, those of us watching at home. We all need to hold our nerve. Easier said than done however. Liverpool fans aren’t known for their rationality. We’re a passionate collective, and our outbursts tend to be led by the heart first, the head second.
We’re probably an FA Cup exit and a loss to Chelsea away from being classed as a club in crisis. For some, we already are.
Do we rise above our recent failings, or do we revert to the flawed behaviour we’ve been guilty of periodically adopting, when confronted with a shot at the big prize, at sporadic intervals during the last quarter of a century?
It’s hard to shake off the feeling of Deja-vu.
You’ve every right to be disappointed, annoyed or even furious at how this month has panned out Take a deep breath though. As quickly as things can turn to shit, the dark clouds can just as easily break. The sun will shine again this season. We are still pointing in the right direction.
The Deja-vu element comes from how we have so often consumed ourselves at times of setbacks and difficulties. Self-doubt turns into self-combustion. That can’t happen again. That shouldn’t happen again. Of course, at some point it will however happen again. Try and do it differently this time around though.
We seem to have begun to search for villains.
Daniel Sturridge is regularly admonished. Emre Can is another figure who finds himself enveloped in a weekly avalanche of criticism. Our goalkeepers are seen as fair game. One disgruntled red I overheard walking away from Anfield on Wednesday night rounded on James Milner, and proffered the opinion that Alberto Moreno is the answer to the question being posed. Come on now. If Alberto Moreno is the answer, then you have to seriously ponder what question was being asked.
We have our problems. We have an erosion of confidence on-going. Too tentative against Southampton, and too deflated after Swansea City edged back in front at 2-3, when we’d come storming back into the game at 2-2.
But look at how well we’ve played prior to January. One or two slip-ups aside, we were pretty happy with our lot as we counted down the seconds to the arrival of 2017.
January has undeniably been a write off, but we’ll have our work cut-out to have another month this season as bad as January. Jürgen Klopp isn’t without blame for how we’ve tailed off since beating Manchester City on New Years Eve’. I’ve always felt that playing all three of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can was overkill. Two out of those three should really start. Klopp did this against Southampton, but without having Sadio Mane at his disposal, it is a move which leaves the bench lacking a compelling Plan B. On Wednesday night I looked at the starting line-up, I looked at the bench, and I immediately felt that if Plan A didn’t work out, then we’d be in trouble.
Klopp is left with a conundrum to work out, but we need to draw a deep breath and trust him to get it right. Now is the time for calm heads and measured responses. Resist the Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Up the reds.