The Liver Bird  

Friday, 15 June 2018

2017/2018 Liverpool FC Season Review

World Cup fever may have set in but in the breaks between matches, here's my review of Liverpool's 2017/2018 season if you fancy a quick read.

August 2017 - October 2017

Liverpool opened the 2017 Premier League season by battering Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield. It was an extremely dire performance from the Londoners but the game allowed Jurgen Klopp to get off to a winning start.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Liverpool's August form would not run into September. This time, it was Klopp's side on the end of a battering when Manchester City put five goals past us at the Etihad.

Image via The Independent
A 2-2 draw with Sevilla opened up what would turn into a superb Champions League campaign but the Reds also crashed out of the League Cup, losing away to Leicester.

In October, the Reds had a bit of a case of the draws once again after a 1-1 with Newcastle and a boring 0-0 with United. The Reds did, however, put seven past Maribor in the Champions League but also lost 4-1 to Spurs in possibly the worst game of the season. Lovren had an absolute mare that day.

For me, August to October was a very interesting period for the Reds. I was at a point where I was getting very frustrated with Jurgen Klopp, I didn't want him to go anywhere, I was and still am fully behind the boss but I was becoming exasperated with his substitutions and stubbornness. 

I remember writing a small piece for This Is Anfield shortly after the Spurs game and I just felt like he didn't use the bench for maximum impact, the timings of substitutions or player changes were often very strange and we never seemed to have an effective plan B.

In the news...

  • Hurricane Harvey strikes the United States
  • Paris and Los Angeles are awarded the rights to host the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics
  • Hurricane Irma hits the Caribbean and the United States, a disastrous period for the regions as Hurricane Maria also followed striking similar areas

November 2017 - January 2018

November opened for the Reds with another victory in the Champions League. A 3-0 win over Maribor would be coupled later in the month with another draw with Sevilla (3-3).

In the league, the Reds had a better month, beating West Ham 4-1 away from home, beating Southampton and Stoke 3-0 and drawing 1-1 with Chelsea.

A busy December schedule saw the Reds batter Spartak Moscow in their final Champions League group game, winning 7-0 and gaining a place in the last 16. While overall December boded well for the Reds, draws were still creeping in via a 1-1 with Everton, a 3-3 with Arsenal and a dire 0-0 with West Brom.

These are the games that Liverpool always seem to regret, we drop so many points unnecessarily and the draw against West Brom was particularly annoying.

January sparked a new year and a fresh start with the signing of Virgil van Dijk. I was desperate for him to come in and add a bit of stability to our defence, some instruction and communication and he had an instant effect on the side in Liverpool's first FA Cup game.

Image via Metro
The Reds knocked Everton out thanks to a van Dijk header, absolutely hilarious! The laughter didn't last long though as the Reds were knocked out by West Brom just a couple of weeks later (I also found a new hatred for VAR during this match).

As January continued, an emphatic win over City (4-3) and a win over Huddersfield offered some positives but it was becoming clear that Jurgen Klopp's focus was in Europe.

For me, this period of the season was much of a muchness. Yes, there were signs of improvement, slowly the defence appeared to be gelling but the league just became something that was happening in the background. As long as we got 4th, that's all that mattered.

In the news...

  • A new orangutan species is identified in Indonesia
  • A total lunar eclipse takes place
  • Russia is banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics

February 2018 - May 2018

February contained our first leg against our last 16 opponents, Porto. The Reds were superb away from home, scoring five goals with no return. Klopp's side also picked up wins over Southampton and West Ham in the league and drew with Spurs.

A 0-0 draw in the second leg of our Champions League tie in March was enough to see the Reds through to the quarter finals. Victory over Rafa Benitez's Newcastle side was joined by a loss to Manchester United, a 5-0 win over Watford and a 2-1 win over Palace in the league.

I flew out to Australia for the holiday of a lifetime in March but thankfully I was flying on the night of the Champions League draw. When Liverpool pulled out Manchester City, I was excited, to say the least and possibly one of the most positive fans reacting to the news. I knew we could have them over two legs but I never thought it would go as well as it did.

April opened with the first leg at Anfield. Liverpool put in a stunning performance to beat City 3-0 with goals from Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane.

Image via Daily Star
In the league (very much in the background at this point) the Reds remained in contention for the top four but picked up some sloppy draws against the likes of Stoke and West Brom.

In the midst of all this, the Reds played their second leg against City, this time at the Etihad. The press would have you believe that this is where Liverpool would come unstuck, City would be able to cause damage and potentially turn around the impossible scoreline. Well, they didn't. Liverpool won yet again. A 2-1 victory with goals from Salah and Firmino.

Our unlikely opponents in the semi-final were Roma having miraculously knocked out Barcelona. Most Reds would have bitten a hand off to get Roma in the semi-final but they were no mugs. A 5-2 victory for Liverpool in the first leg at Anfield left some fans nervous towards the end and despite being three goals in front, the trip to Italy was a tentative one.

The Reds actually lost in Rome, 4-2, but progressed to the final, 7-6 on aggregate in typical Liverpool fashion.

A 4-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on the last day of the season secured the Reds place in the top four and more importantly, secured Champions League football next season but it was the final that most people were concerned about.

In the news...

  • Qantas launches a directly flight from Heathrow, London to Perth. It is the first commercial non-stop service between the United Kingdom and Australia.
  • Miguel Diaz-Canel is sworn in as the president of Cuba. The first time since 1959 that neither Castro brother is leading the country.
  • GDPR comes into effect, people's inboxes are bombarded.

Champions League Final

The date was set: Saturday 26th May. Our opponents? Real Madrid. The mighty Spaniards were, of course, a force to be reckoned with, but this was Liverpool and this was Europe. Everybody believed something special could happen.

Image via The Express
I travelled up to Liverpool to watch the match at Camp & Furnace, the atmosphere in the city was just brilliant and I'm so glad I got to watch the final with fellow fans.

Heartbreak would occur though. Nobody could have predicted that Mo Salah would leave the field, injured and in tears after such a phenomenal season. Nobody could have foreseen the horrendous errors from Karius, the calls of concussion and the absolute worldy scored by Gareth Bale. It wasn't Liverpool's night but the trip to the final once again supported the fact that the Reds are a solid team, the league still remains a difficult nut to crack but in Europe we were stunning.

Roll on 2018/2019!

Labels: , , , , , ,