Football Burp’s Liverpool correspondent Umarah Naz was left reeling by the Reds’ seasonal slump from top spot…
From 1st to 5th in the Premier League in just over a week? Don’t be ridiculous, I hear you say. But it’s true and it’s my beloved Liverpool who are the team to be in that ever so slightly strange position.
I have been reading the fallout after Liverpool’s loss to Chelsea and have come up against a wall of optimism from pundits and fans alike. So why don’t I feel the same way?
Maybe it’s my deep passion for the club, maybe it’s my competitive nature, but it’s probably because of the unexpectedly great start to the season we have had.
No one could have predicted Liverpool would be top of the Premier League on Christmas Day albeit by the tiniest of margins.
However, the fixtures conspired and pitted the Reds against two of the favourites to win the title, Manchester City and Jose Mourinho (also known as Chelsea) back to back.
With the lead being slimmer than a Versace model’s waist, it was always going to be vital to get some kind of result to stay near the top spot.
Add to that the fact that Liverpool hadn’t lost consecutive matches under Brendan Rodgers and there was plenty of incentive for the boys to maintain their great run of form.
The trip to the Etihad was daunting as City had an unblemished record at home and had positively thrashed huge teams such as Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham.
But Liverpool had come into the match in fine form of their own, with a scoring record second only to City in the league. Two of the most attacking teams in the country would go head to head and the prospect was intriguing.
They didn’t disappoint. In a pulsating match, Liverpool took the lead but costly defensive errors saw City quickly wrestle the lead back, and despite a spirited second half performance from the visitors they were left to rue missed chances and poor refereeing decisions.
Even though three points had been dropped there was a feeling of contentment. We had put on a great show and should have at least drawn, maybe even won, showing that we could compete with the big boys of English and European football.
Had we played as we did against City I honestly felt we had a chance of winning our next match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Was I being slightly naive? Getting carried away? Off my trolley? Some might say so.
The problem was that I was basing my positivity on a Chelsea side that had been scraping results all season and a strike force that hadn’t managed a goal at home in all of 2013.
In addition, our recent brilliant performances were another reason I had my head ever so slightly in the clouds and some part of me thought the Reds could nick a win.
After leading at the Bridge through a Martin Skrtel goal after just three minutes, my predictions didn’t seem so crazy after all. A strange déjà vu then descended and we found ourselves behind quickly – however, unlike against City, it didn’t seem like we were going to get back into this match.
A perky second half performance did nothing for us as Chelsea managed to keep Suárez and co at bay and saw out a 2-1 win, with this loss being a lot tougher to take than the previous one as it resulted in a slump south down the table. Oh, and did I mention that the referee let us down? Again.
That pretty much sums up the story of Liverpool Football Club over the festive period. Back down to earth with a bump from the heady heights of the top of the Premier League to a Europa League spot.
Yes, I know we still have half the season to go and if we continue as we have begun a Champions League spot seems certain, which has been a main priority for many years now.
But ask any Liverpool fan and they’ll tell you it was nice being at the top. We haven’t been there for a long time and forgive me for enjoying it as and when it comes.
Hopefully I’ll be writing something in a few months’ time saying how nice it is to be at the top again. Either that or I’ll be reminiscing at the end of the season about how we flirted with the top spot at Christmas and how wonderful it felt…