What was it Thanos said?
“I am inevitable.”
Liverpool must feel like that these days. Their presence looms large. Undeniable, irresistible, unstoppable. Admired, feared.
You look at them and you marvel at them. They just keep doing it. How do they just keep doing it?
And then you look at them and, for once, you doubt them and you wonder, could this be the one that trips them up, could this be the night?
But deep down you know.
They’ll win. They always do.
The Premier League is inevitable now, but we knew that even before this, their 18th league win on the spin, and their 26th victory from 27 games this season. The team that has laid waste to the competition just keeps on rolling. “Super-Humans!” tweeted Adrian, the backup goalkeeper.
He’s not far off the mark. Liverpool now has as many points as Manchester United’s treble winners of 1998-99 managed, and as many wins as Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ could muster in 2003-04. They have won their last 21 home league matches now – a Premier League record.
West Ham came closer than most to stopping the juggernaut but left as every other team has left Anfield this season. Beaten, 3-2 in this instance, and wondering just what they have to do to stop Jurgen Klopp’s side.
For a spell, David Moyes must have thought he was going to be the man. The Hammers stunned Anfield to equalize through Issa Diop and then, improbably, to lead through Pablo Fornals, the substitute. Midway through the second half, they were on course to become the first team to beat the Reds in the league in 13 months, and the first to win here since April 2017.
But 68 minutes is not a football match, 90 is. And Liverpool did what they have done so often; they found another gear, they put the pressure on, they asked the questions and they got their rewards.
The ultimate 90-minute team. The ultimate team, right now.
A lucky team too, of course. Lukasz Fabianski will have nightmares about the Reds’ equalizer, a tame effort from Mo Salah that squirmed between the West Ham goalkeeper’s legs and over the line. Fabianski may also wonder if he might have been quicker to react to Joe Gomez’s deflected shot, instead of allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold to get there first and set up Sadio Mane for what proved to be the winner.
Moyes suggested he should have saved Gini Wijnaldum’s opener too. “We need to cut out the individual mistakes,” said the Scot, though for his side, he added, “the big games start now.” On a personal level, he remains without a win at Anfield as a manager. This was his 16th visit. His team remains in the bottom three, while their fans made their feelings towards the club’s owners perfectly clear. “Run like a circus, owned by three clowns,” read one banner in the away end.
No such problems at Liverpool. They move on. They had the fortune, but this team earns it. Even when they’re down, they’re never out. Even when they struggle, they succeed. They are never afraid to roll the dice, and more often than not the right number comes up.
Klopp may well have concerns at the general performance. His side, as they had been away at Atletico Madrid six days ago, were far from their fluent best here. The midfield was too open and West Ham was able to cause more issues than most, Moyes included, would have expected. Jordan Henderson, the captain, was certainly missed.
But then Salah and Mane scored one each – that’s 36 between them in all competitions now – and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made an immediate difference off the bench. Liverpool has plenty to turn to when they are in need. If Plan A fails, they have a few others to pick from.
And if you want a stat to underline just how special their run of form has been, then consider this: tonight was the first time they have trailed in a league game since Aston Villa away.
On the 2nd of November.