The remainder of Liverpool’s season offers Jurgen Klopp the chance to alter the narrative of his first full campaign


Double figures, then. Ten not out. Hoist your bat into the air, salute the crowd and savour a job well done.

Whatever happens between now and the end of May, Liverpool will have emerged from 10 matches against the other members of the top six unbeaten. Five wins, five draws and enough cause to believe that that record could have been bettered. They were the superior team in the 1-1 draw at Tottenham and only conceded late to ensure the match at Manchester United went the same way.

You could make a strong case that they should have won at Manchester City on Sunday too, with the majority of that argument placed on Adam Lallana’s laces rather than the whoosh of air that existed when boot failed to meet ball late on. Blaming Lallana for anything Liverpool fail to achieve this season is best left for those who haven’t watched him week after week in 2016/17 though. He was superb again at the Etihad.

As was the game, the weekend and life itself come full-time, according to pretty much everyone who witnessed a breathless 90 minutes in which missed sitters just about beat strong penalty appeals, but the two teams themselves settled for a point apiece. It felt like they should both get one-and-a-half.

Pep Guardiola seemed to get more than that though. He spoke of the draw being one of the ‘most special days of his life’ at full-time, and while the Manchester City boss is obviously exaggerating, it is not difficult to see where he was coming from.


City – battered, bruised and broken from their midweek Monaco experience – would have feared a rampant Liverpool on Sunday, and so set out to counter that by being just as open and attacking themselves. The match turned into a shining example of everything that the Premier League is, good and bad, and why these two teams are the best to watch within it.

They’re not the best full stop though. That honour – as Jurgen Klopp said after the game – will soon belong to Chelsea because of their relentless consistency, but the remainder of Liverpool’s season at least offers them the opportunity to show that they’ve learned a thing or two about that themselves.

Because while the City result has ensured that this will forever be known as Liverpool’s Robin Hood campaign – taking points from the rich and giving them away to the poor – there now comes the chance to alter the narrative a bit.

Everton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Middlesbrough at home, and Stoke, West Brom, Watford and West Ham away is what lies between now and another summer of endless transfer rumours, ‘missing pieces of the jigsaw’ and fending off Philippe Coutinho’s vultures with a sharp stick. And that isn’t exactly the worst run-in in the world.

True, those do mostly resemble the type of games in which the Reds – focusing more on attacking the rich –  have carelessly tossed away advantages and points over the course of Klopp’s first full season in charge, but there was a sense after the recent win over Burnley that a corner could have been turned in that regard. As they’re now able to settle down in front of Sky’s super subscription Sundays knowing that the elite teams will all take points off each other in the coming weeks, it is to be hoped that that corner doesn’t lead into another cul-de-sac.

But there is simply no excuse for that to happen now.


 

Klopp and Liverpool won’t be going into these games thinking about the bigger, apparently tougher challenges ahead, because there aren’t any. These are the only games that his side have to prepare for, and as such there should be nothing else to focus on. No more rich teams left to deprive of points.

The fact that it is Everton next up is almost perfect. Regardless of the fine form the Blues are in, this is always a big game, and Liverpool like big games. Win this one and it’ll be seven wins and five draws against this season’s top seven, 12 not out. Not that anyone dancing on the streets of Merseyside will care about that after winning a derby, obviously.

That is still to come though, once everyone has their breath back from the Etihad.

The forthcoming international break might just have come at a good time for Klopp and his band of merry men, because there is now scope to reflect on what they’ve done and what they still need to do.

The richer clubs in the Premier League know all about how good Liverpool are. Now it’s time they remind the poorer ones.