Liverpool's derby win could be pivotal in title race
It was the height of drama, nothing has come close for many years.
Divock Origi’s 96th-minute winner for Liverpool in the Merseyside derby was as climactic as things get, and keeps Klopp’s momentum rolling over as we head into the winter months, where the fixtures come thick and fast.
The win keeps the Reds right on City’s coattails, and besides anything else, it provides another huge boost in morale for the squad.
While confidence is not low within Klopp’s side at present, the manner in which the game was won will add to the feeling that they are almost invincible heading into a crucial period through December.
Tricky ties against Burnley, Bournemouth, Wolves and Newcastle are scattered in among games against Manchester United and a resurgent Arsenal face Liverpool in December, but with their tails up following defeating Everton, there’s nothing to say Liverpool cannot go on to win the vast majority of these games.
Trent Alexander-Arnold said in a recent interview with James Pearce for the Liverpool Echo that “hopefully it will give us momentum to go into this Christmas run, which will be tough for us, and hopefully we’ll get a few more results like this.”
There is a real winning mentality among the squad, a feeling of togetherness that they are the side that can catch City this season, and perhaps the only side in the league that can do so, it must be said.
And as Liverpool are constantly looking in front of them in a bid to hunt City down, Guardiola’s side will be constantly looking over their shoulders in the hope that Liverpool are the first ones to break their surge for the title.
City are unrelenting in their winning ways and seem to demolish every team that is put in front of them with ease. The expectation is on them to keep winning, and they don’t seem too weighed down by that at present.
Perhaps then, it is most people’s expectation that Liverpool are the ones who may blink first and drop points and thus extending City’s lead at the top.
But while Liverpool keep winning, it keeps City wondering when, and if, Klopp’s men will ever start dropping points and allow them to push further forward.
The best thing that the Reds can do at this point in time is just keep on winning, no matter if it’s an emphatic thrashing, a dominant display or a scrappy last-minute goal straight out of the unexpected like against Everton – as long as Liverpool keep winning, they maintain the pressure on last season’s champions.
That is as unsettling as anything that Liverpool can do until the two sides meet at the Etihad on 3 January. It will niggle away at the back of the minds of the City players.
It adds pressure to them, knowing that they have to keep winning because if they don’t, then Liverpool are there to pounce and take advantage of their mishaps.
Now on reflection and current form, any kind of slip-up seems unlikely, and even if it doesn’t come, there’s nothing Liverpool can do about that aside from taking points off them when the sides face-off in early 2019.
The worst thing that can happen is Liverpool drop points while City march on and open up a gap. That momentum that Trent talks about is absolutely key.
And the Reds need to ensure that they maintain this at least until that crunch match against City in the New Year, which already looks like it could go a long way as to deciding where the Premier League trophy will end up at the end of this season.
Klopp will have his players all singing from the same hymn sheet, doing their jobs and racking up the points, and Origi’s dramatic derby day strike will only help them to keep marching on and piling the pressure on Guardiola and his City side.
We’re still here, Pep, and we’re not going anywhere any time soon. Your move.