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Stop worrying about Liverpool

OPINION: People said it would never happen again, but some Arsenal fans fear runaway Premier League leaders could become ‘invincibles’ too

24 January, 2020 — By Richard Osley

YOU may have heard in the wind that some Arsenal fans are getting a little uptight – stressed, even – about the prospect of Liverpool running through the entire season without losing a match.

Although I rarely talk about it in this column, Arsenal achieved such a feat in 2004 and were given a special gold trophy as a result.

People said it would never happen again, presumably assuming that Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City (if they could see into that club’s moneybags future) wouldn’t all be awful in the same season.

As it happens, they have been… and Liverpool’s name might as well be etched into the silverware now.

Just to digress quickly, this will be Liverpool’s first championship since the backpass rule was introduced. During their last period of dominance – the 1980s – they’d score a goal and then Hansen, Nicol, Lawrenson, all of them would pass it around and back to Grobbelaar.

It can’t be coincidence that once they could not do this any more, they spent three decades without a league title. I’m not sure why this simple explanation hasn’t been given more airtime, but there you go. Keep reading your local newspaper for all your exclusives.

Basically, anybody who played football during a time when you could pass back to the goalkeeper was never really that good and their opinions are invalid.

Share the theory if you like.

Anyway, about Liverpool being invincibles too.

The key thing here is not to stress out too much. Arsenal fans have far more important things to worry about. In short spend your time fretting over when the club will sign its first really decent centre since Sol Campbell crossed the floor rather than fretting each weekend over whether Liverpool are going to match or break a record.

If not what are you asking of yourself?

To spend the rest of your life, every year, every season counting the losses of every other team until… phew, we’ve survived another year, lads.

You could have 50 more years – possibly less if the polar ice caps keep melting – of worrying about whether another team is going to do what Arsenal did in 2004.

Stop it. Just sit back and feel relieved that it’s Liverpool, hardly a team to hate on too much, and not Spurs or Chelsea 16 points clear at the top of the table.

The crux is this: I’d be more than happy for Liverpool to go through the season unbeaten, if in some mystical deal this meant Arsenal actually signed some proper defensive players.

The pain isn’t watching Liverpool succeed, it’s having to suffer the kind of hazardous approach that Shkodran Mustafi undertook at Stamford Bridge this week. Again.


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