Legendary - Clive Brunskill
January is the month of hope for football fans across the world. From United fans, dreamily eyeing the Premier League title and possibly even the miraculous return of Cristiano Ronaldo, to QPR supporters looking for an escape hatch, optimism is aplenty. And Liverpool is no exception, as the club suddenly seems filled with good vibes and rose tinted looks toward the future.
This week I've read multiple articles playing up a Liverpool revival, even claiming that a top four finish is within reach. I can't help being swept up a little bit myself. Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool's first transfer signing, will likely play an integral role in the first team down the stretch. And he has the talent to become an electric player if he decides to whole heartedly buy into Brendan Rodgers' passing system.
The club is also riding a neat little two game win streak. The QPR match didn't mean much to me, but Sunderland have consistently been a tricky side for Liverpool to figure out. And they didn't just figure them out and coast to a 1-0 victory either. They won 3-0, utterly dominating the Black Cats in every aspect of the game.
But I can certainly see how an overly optimistic outlook is dangerous. As the fall months wore on, brutal losses and dropped points lost their sting as desensitized supporters downsized their expectations. If expectations are now raised back up, it seems that we're setting ourselves up to experience the stinging once again.
Like every month in recent memory, January serves as a crossroad for the club. A lot will be told when they head to Manchester on the thirteenth. Rodgers will have had a long time to prepare his players for the game, and the players themselves should be well rested. The match will be explosive as always, maybe even more than usual considering the insanity from the corresponding fixture last season. These are the types of games that show what a team is worth. Yes, it may very well be the hardest one of them all, especially for the young players who have never experienced such a hostile atmosphere. But in a fixture of this stature, no excuses are allowed.
One thing of note that will certainly influence things at the club is that Jose Enrique is out for six weeks due to his bad hamstring, meaning a lot more Andre Wisdom sightings in the near future. He really does have a great deal of potential so hopefully he'll be solid in replacement of the injured Spaniard.
So we'll just have to wait and see how this all plays out. Enjoy this calm before the storm, a rare break from the constant flow of matches. Because it only gets more hectic, more gut wrenching, more incredible from here.
Oh. And this is my 50th article on Anfield Asylum. So that's cool.