Spurs and Paris Wins Prove Reds Can Seriously Challenge for Both League and European Glory This Season

Danny Austin says the Reds have enough to mount multiple trophy challenges this season.
Danny Austin  |  20th September 2018

Once enough time passes, and the collective memory of Liverpool’s victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain fades, the future will paint a strange picture of both of results. They will appear fortunate.

When looking these matches up a few years from now, the narrow score-lines and late goals will suggest that these were games Liverpool just about managed to scrape a win from. Against Spurs they were lucky to hold on after conceding late, some might think. The PSG result shows that things were pretty even for the most part, and that they nearly threw it away, some could believe.

But in the present, it is clear to all onlookers that the Reds absolutely fucking battered the pair of them.

Both wins may have lacked the breathing space that their performances deserved, but they were still eminently emphatic, and serve as proof that Liverpool are simply a much, much better football team than either Tottenham Hotspur or Paris Saint-Germain.

The decisiveness with which Liverpool have imposed themselves upon a couple of the continent’s most talented outfits is a clear demonstration of the Reds’ incredible quality and unbridled intensity. That two squads possessing some of the world’s finest footballers were made to look so meek, so fatigued, so overawed by Jürgen Klopp’s men emphasises the fact that this current Liverpool team is now consistently producing the kind of devastating performances that strike fear into the hearts of elite level football clubs.

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Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel, widely considered to be two of the most knowledgeable and tactically astute of the sport’s new generation of coaches, had no semblance of a coherent game-plan which with to attempt to assert influence against the Reds. Neither of their sides looked capable of stifling Liverpool’s attacking threat, nor did they appear able at any point to accentuate their own positives going forward, and both teams completely ceded control of the game in the middle of park as they struggled to deal with the Reds’ physical resolve.

Both matches have borne witness to some excellent individual performances. Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are becoming two of the side’s biggest attacking threats, while, as bizarre as it may seem, it is no exaggeration to suggest that 32-year-old James Milner’s combination of unerringly accurate penalty-taking, intricate link-up play, and his ferocious desire to tackle anything that fucking moves on the football pitch, ensures he is probably the most in-form midfielder in Europe right now.

Yet it is the collective self-confidence and vigour of this Liverpool team that makes it as unplayable as it has been in these last two games.

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After Kylian Mbappé’s equaliser at Anfield on Tuesday night, Liverpool would have been forgiven if they had withdrawn, tried to ensure that PSG did not seize momentum, and ultimately settled for a fairly respectable draw. Instead they put the French outfit on the back foot again instantly and forced the result they knew they merited through sheer determination.

Make no mistake, in the space of four days Liverpool have crushed two of their biggest rivals in the hunt for success. It’s easy to forget that Spurs have finished ahead of the Reds in seven of the last eight seasons, while PSG have reached the latter stages in Europe for six years in a row.

In dismantling both so efficiently, the Reds have made clear to all challengers in both the Premier League and the Champions League that they mean serious business this season.

The campaign is of course still in its early stages, and the likelihood that Liverpool will go on to win both trophies this season obviously remains small, but the evidence so far makes plain that they are most definitely capable of making it happen.

And following a football team that seems capable of anything is what it’s all about.

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