Long-suffering Liverpool supporters, for whom the mere mention of the word ‘slip’ can bring on a fit of the vapours, won’t want to hear him say it — but Graeme Souness has ruled out any possibility of a collapse for Jurgen Klopp’s team and so, even with the New Year still only in its infancy, he has no hesitation in calling the 2020 title race in favour of his old club.
It may not have been quite as dramatic or memorable as that Steven Gerrard goal almost 14 years ago to the day but, as Mohamed Salah clinched Liverpool’s place in the Champions League knockout stages, this important victory certainly carried echoes of that famous night.
With football’s powers that be seemingly intent on garroting their golden goose, with increasingly relentless, wall-to-wall live TV coverage, it's somewhat of a relief that unlike our disappointingly underwhelming midweek cup win, an Arsenal v Liverpool Premiership outing, under the floodlights, remains a sufficiently portentous encounter to set Gooner pulses racing and pack out the Emirates.
Luckily for Manchester City, the bloated Champions League format means that opening group games can hardly be regarded as critically important, never mind ‘must win’, but even if the competition couldn’t ever hope to hit the ground running the way the World Cup did in Russia, this week’s action did see some of football’s global superstars exhibiting varying degrees of luminosity — from dull to blinding — in their attempts to twist again like they did last summer.
Yeah, just stop the football for a fortnight. It’s not like we’re playing like kings or anything… An international break this early is all manner of wrong. You’re frustrated either way; good run interrupted, stew on a bad result for two weeks.
Teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold enjoyed an extra-special European debut with a brilliant free-kick to set Liverpool on their way to a 2-1 victory in their Champions League play-off first leg against Hoffenheim.