A glance at the Premier League table and you will see that only 9 games have been played, in Liverpool's case it is 8 and yet one has to wonder if Jurgen Klopp's side will be able to even claim a top 4 place? Granted the season is early, but the weeks and games keep on rolling by and Liverpool keep on failing to win. The worry is that with every surprise result (failing to get three points against Fulham, Crystal Palace and Brighton, with two of those games at Anfield), when they have been tested against quality sides they have lost those too. The Manchester United defeat felt like a wake up call given that, at the time, United were in poor form and looked there for the taking, in reality though the Reds did too.The difference that night at Old Trafford was simple; United had the hunger and desire something Liverpool have shown in abundance under Klopp for 95% of the time he has been there.
This past weekend the Reds lost their 2nd game of the season this time to title challengers Arsenal in a thrilling game which ended 3-2 to the Gunners. It is debatable whether Arsenal should have been awarded the winning penalty but even a 2-2 draw wasn't going to cut it for Liverpool who needed all three points. This weekend it is another almighty challenge as they face Manchester City and Klopp's side certainly have an uphill battle on their hands. Many have asked how the clubs usual dominance has seemingly faded away and so fast. Sadio Mane's transfer to Bayern Munich hasn't helped, and usual world class players such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk have lost their confidence and are probably fatigued. Top level players are expected to play 63 games in a twelve month calender and UEFA squeezing in the Nations League in the summer, in a World Cup year just felt like overkill. But then there is Mohamed Salah a forward who has scored 120 league goals for the Reds but managed just 2 so far. Goals equal points and ever since signing his new contract he hasn't been the top level player that we expect to see week in and out.
The most damning fall out though is that we are in October and can say with confidence that Liverpool won't win the league, and may not even be able to challenge for it. They are 14 points behind Arsenal and 13 behind City and even having a game in hand won't change much. Lose to City this weekend and that inevitably just becomes even harder. But a challenge for the title also has to take into account strong sides such as Tottenham and Chelsea who are going to win more than lose and then one has to wonder if the Reds will even claim a Champions League place for next season? Despite their slow start to the season they are still one of the favourites to get a top 4 spot which just shows the respect the bookies still have for Klopp's side.
To finish in the top 4 - without Manchester City: Arsenal 1.15, Tottenham 1.62, Liverpool 1.66, Chelsea 1.80, Manchester United 2.75
Steve Bruce was a very decorated player winning a plethora of trophies with Manchester United in the 1990s. As a manager it hasn't quite worked out and this week he has been sacked by West Bromwich Albion after a dismal run. Is this the end of an era for the Englishman who has continued to fail as a manager but been kept on the merry go round and been the go to guy when a mid table side have needed someone to come in? True Bruce does bring with him experience, he has coached over 1,000 games but he left the Baggies with just a 25% win rate- his lowest ever number. It would be a real surprise if the 62 year old was offered another job and a huge one if he returned to the Premier League, but stranger things have happened. Bruce loves football, there is no doubt about that but he is a wealthy man and can retire early. The bottom line is is that he has managed 12 clubs in 24 years and won nothing expect once in April 2021, a Premier League manager of the month.
Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo you can keep the player mostly out of the team but as they say the cream usually rises to the top and Ronaldo came off the bench against Everton and scored his 700th career goal. Perhaps it was fitting that Ronaldo achieved such a milestone in a famous stadium, that in a couple of years time will be no more. Finally condolences to Brighton's Enock Mwepu who at just 24 years of age has had to retire from the game because a heart condition has been detected. Mwepu had much of his career in front of him and only joined the club last season for £20m. One hopes that Brighton and the Premier League will do the right thing and look after him and offer him a job in some capacity.