With Liverpool racing out to a rapturous, historic lead atop the Premier League, we’ve turned our attention away from which teams might threaten the Reds and toward what circumstances could actually make this competitive.
Another of the latter fell on Wednesday, as Liverpool saw out its game in hand in a professional manner by beating West Ham 2-0 on the road.
Liverpool becomes only the sixth team in Premier League history to beat all the other teams in the top flight in a given season, and has done it before February. (The others are 2005-06 Chelsea, 2010-11 Manchester United, 2017-18 Manchester City, 2017-18 United, and last season’s City.)
Every team has now played 24 games, and Liverpool’s lead is 19 points atop the league. The Reds are the first team in the history of Europe’s top five leagues to win 23 of their first 24 matches, and the lone slip-up — an October draw at Man United — is fading further in the rearview.
So what could stop them and give us more drama? Well, the game in hand was supposedly an obstacle, with Wednesday’s game rescheduled from December due to Liverpool’s participation in the Club World Cup. On paper, a midweek trip no other teams have to make to a relegation battler is tough.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool shreds paper, as well as the games that actually take place. Toward the end of the first half against West Ham, Divock Origi was brought down in the box and Mohamed Salah emphatically scored the ensuing penalty:
In the second half, Salah spun a great ball with the outside of his foot to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who stood strong and finished the chance:
So what else is left? Well, Liverpool has a Merseyside derby at Everton in March, a trip to Manchester City in April and Arsenal/Chelsea back-to-back in May. Our own Ryan Bailey has tipped Norwich City to pull a shock upset in an otherwise anonymous February fixture, too.
Liverpool is also still alive in the Champions League, and unlike the FA Cup, Klopp won’t boycott that. Even accounting for their upcoming rest spell, European competition could stretch the Reds thin, as they’re admittedly not the deepest squad ever assembled.
But they already won Europe last season. Their eyes are on the Premier League. And the Premier League is running out of challenges to throw at them.
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