Form is confidence. Form is unpredictable, yet predictable. Form is temporary. Form is opinionated. Form can come and go like the wind. Form can make you ecstatic, leave you euphoric. Form is irreplaceable. Form is everything.
Form can be right in-front of your eyes but still go unnoticed. Form is needed to succeed, yet goes-out-the-window on occasion. Sometimes form can be lacklustre – the rarest type of form. The kind of form that’s earned, through gritted teeth, in the face of adversity, bloody-knees and last-grasp nostalgia type form. An invisible form if you will. Which is there, if you look hard enough.
You could say the exact form we’ve shown since our humble unraveling at the King Power Stadium, way back on the 27th of February. Strange one, I know. You’d be forgiven to think we’ve been nowhere near in-form. I mean we’re the surprise package, the incredibly inconsistent, the thrash you one day, gift you goals the next day. We’re the lose 3-1 to Leicester on a Monday night and beat Arsenal by the exact same score five days later team. (Pull your hair out, form. No, it’s not just a game of football, form. Can’t bear to watch Match Of The Day, form).
Thing is, for the last fifty-two days, I don’t feel like I’ve witnessed this form. Okay, with the exception of the late Bournemouth equaliser. (That had millions of Reds around the globe saying; “knew it, bloody knew we’d concede, every *blank time.” Admit it). Excuse the rambling.
Out of the last seven games, that’s the only stand-out heartache. A draw. Twitter would have you thinking otherwise. Surely this can’t be bad. Surely this should be applauded. Surely this is indefinite proof of my in-form theory. Injured players mounting up, constant changing of the starting line-up, hard away fixtures, big games against City and Arsenal and a Merseyside Derby. Down to our bare-bones. No chance. Think again. Seventeen points collected out of the twenty-one available, since the embarrassment at Leicester. It’s not the pre-January form or set the League alight form.
It is however, let’s go under-the-radar form. It’s the, let people moan about injuries, we’ll keep stacking up precious points form. It’s the, we haven’t lost since bloody February form! It’s the, don’t be naive, don’t ignore it, let’s join together and charge the top-four form. It’s the, forget everyone else, let’s get the job done form. Which is the formidable form that’s made me believe, no, convinced me, we will finish in the top four.
On track for top four
Key elements missing, in the key part of the season, yet we’re still on course. I get the pessimistic outlook. The stern upper lip, I’m not setting myself up for a fall again, way of looking at it. Been there got the t-shirt, mindset. I get it. I can’t watch the 2013/14 Chelsea game. Or that season’s Crystal Palace game. Or even this season’s Bournemouth visit, though it had some magical goals from Emre and Origi. Sometimes you have to forgive and forget. Embrace this new philosophy. Embrace the fact, that however disappointed you might be, we have progressed. Fact. Past is the past and the future’s bright.
Ask yourself this, except the one-off season of 2013/14, when was the last time we was even in the mix for top-four? (I’m writing this and I’m scratching my head). It’s usually the old, well if they lose their games and we win all of ours, we could get fourth by goal-difference. Well, that or we’ve flat-out accepted it’s the try again next season scenario. The last eight seasons have seen us achieve top-four status only twice. Demoralising, isn’t it. Both times we managed it we should of won the League. Sorry, that didn’t help anything, did it. True story mind. Go back another eight seasons and we only missed out on top-four twice. How nuts is that. Perhaps the footballing stars are aligned and the tide is finally turning in our German fuelled favour. Though I don’t believe in all these horoscopes. Typical Scorpio.
Progress has been made
Don’t tell me we’ve not progressed under Jürgen Klopp because for the first time in a long, long time, we’re in control of our own destiny. At long-last. Though I don’t expect a completely smooth ride. That wouldn’t be no fun, anyway. (Wrote that bit with a forced, nervous smile).
On paper, it’s all beatable teams left to play. Palace, Southampton and Middlesbrough at home, Watford and West Ham away. Simples. We must be aware of our dangerous history with these teams but have the mentality to not be fazed by it. Palace will be tricky, you just know it. Though it doesn’t concern me like before. We can beat Stoke away. We can beat West Brom away, even with Tony Pulis treating it like an FA Cup final. Jerk. So pleased we scored from a set-piece. The irony. That’s him off Mourinho’s Christmas card list. We can beat anyone. Yes, we’ve lost to West Ham before, we’ve been knocked out of the League Cup by Liverpool’s reserve squad, we’ve been demolished by Watford and Crystal Palace, well I won’t bother with the latter. Yet I’m still optimistic. Not just optimistic, I’m damn confident. Rightly so, I believe.
I’m still not scared, or in any doubt. Boxers get knocked down, is it over? No. Get up. Out-fight, out-wit and out-attack your opponent. Never give in. Never give up. Us Liverpool fans should know this more than anyone. Anything is possible for those who believe, eh?
Tough times create tough players. And I’m going to give Mignolet the credit he’s deservedly earned. Bad performances, hounded by fans, critics, newspapers, Twitter. But Simon is still here, forced his way back into the team, though Karius assisted that and he has kept our dreams alive in recent games. We’re all quick to adapt opinions on out-field players, when form changes but seem to rubbish the idea our goalkeeper may have the ability to learn and improve. Is there a bigger confidence boost than Klopp saying you’re the number one and here’s a new contract. He must of felt ten-foot tall. Many will still dislike him, which is fair enough but I can’t help but eat my words and respect him for what he’s adding to the team of late.
We talk of players stepping up in times of need. Stoke away, West Brom away, top-four at stake. Mignolet stepped up. Emre Can, stepped up. Lucas, stepped up. The teams utilised itself. I’m sure Firmino had an evil twin on the pitch with him, he was everywhere. Marauding, pressuring. Such an opportunist. A true unselfish striker. Not a twenty-goal-a-season striker but he creates openings and so many opportunities for other team-mates. Its no surprise the amount of different scorers we have. The whole teams managed to finally solve the lower team conundrum. Be b***ards. Be clinical. Be ugly. Then be beautiful, with beautiful rewards.
Momentum is a funny old thing really. With it, you’re unstoppable, unbeatable, you’re faster, stronger, braver. Without it, form is irrelevant. You’re beatable, doubtful and low on confidence. Readying for failure. You’re only as good as you’re last game, they say. Well we’ve got momentum, we’ve got form, we’ve got reinforcements returning, we’ve got players and fans believing alike in unity. Now’s the time, forget fate, we all have a role to play, let’s create our own legacy. Support, sing, be loud, wherever you are. Be positive. Fly the flag of hope.
“We are Liverpool, Tra, la, la, la, la…”
We’ve got five games. Five games to return us to the Champions League. Five games left to strive the team on. Four-hundred and fifty nerve-racking minutes stand between us and team-coach welcomes, pyro-filled streets, European city’s turning red overnight, broken glasses, broken records, hairs raising on the back of your neck moments. Iconic European nights at Anfield. The Kop bouncing. (Anyone else got that warm feeling inside?)
I see no reason why it can’t be five wins either. Go on lads, give us all fifteen points.
Always like to leave it on an inspirational note:
“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results.”
Anyway, I’m off to watch the road to Istanbul for the four-hundredth and sixty-third time!
Up the invisibly, in-form Reds!
Written by Ben Webb.