Monday night was weird.
Given how it’s been such a rare occurrence over the years many would have thought we’d be pleased to go top of the Premiership. After all on paper it means that we’ve got more points than anyone else. You cannot escape that blindingly obvious argument.
In addition Rafa’s logic after the game cannot be faulted.
“We have one more point than Chelsea now so, if we can beat Blackburn at the weekend, we will stay top of the table. Yes we are frustrated again, it is clear we deserved to win and some people can be disappointed. We are disappointed. But we are also top of the table and the fans will enjoy seeing the table tomorrow.”
Yes it should look good but that’s not the whole story and anyone who thinks this is so is deluding themselves. I can’t recall having so many mixed emotions about a Liverpool situation. This was also evidenced by the boos (unnecessary) as we trudged off the pitch. “The bird”, even though we’ve gone top? Has the world gone mad?
Why are so many allowing recent blips cloud what we have achieved so far? I certainly have to keep reminding myself not to fall into this trap. I guess it’s the thought, a greedy, grasping, unreasonable, unrealistic, stupid one, that it could be so much more? The euphoria of the excellent wins against The Mancs and Chelsea tempered by the frustration of last night’s dropped points together with those against Fulham and Stoke. Think what the lead could have been? Will we rue this little period in May? Surely it is only a matter of time before Chelsea and The Mancs get their acts together and stop giving us regular chances to steal a march on them? Nope come on, snap out of it! Be positive!
And that’s the key. Line ups have been strong but doubts, rightly or wrongly, will be raised about our consistency and ability to withstand the weight of expectation and pressure that goes with the improved position in which we’ve found ourselves this season. The last few results will also lead many to wonder about the team’s confidence and its eye for the man chance. However, this is a fickle thing. If we batter Blackburn this weekend such doubts might drain away as quickly as they have started and we could start churning out the results once more. It’s happened in the past and there no reason why it shouldn’t happen again. All can take is one incident, a bit of luck, a Dirk Kuyt 90th minute winner off his backside through the keeper’s legs, anything and then everything could be hunky dory again?
Whatever ones opinion and there seem to be two distinct camps, “the table doesn’t lie” group and “argh yes but if you scratch beneath the surface” brigade, there is no point in harking back to the past. We are still in a good position and picking over what could have been isn’t going to help the team. I hope they and Rafa don’t interpret what is genuine frustration and disappointment as criticism or impatience. Things will only get worse if they do and carry over into future games? Performances shouldn’t ever be above criticism but the slate should always be wiped clean for next game. As Jamie Carragher said yesterday
“Normally when you’re not playing well things go against you but we’ve gone top of the Premier League and have qualified from our Champions League group, so that’s a positive. At the moment we aren’t playing particularly well but we’re still hanging in there, we’re not getting beaten.”
You can’t argue with that but and I guess recently there hasn’t been a great deal of the “enjoy” attitude but too much the “worry” that it might get spoiled. Whatever the stance, the support for the club should not be questioned and let’s hope doubts can banished before they really get a serious hold? For now I guess we should try and to live and enjoy the moment, be cool, trust Rafa and his team, and try not get too hung up about it.