Happy New Year!
What resolutions have you made? Or more importantly, what resolutions have Klopp and his boys made?
Here’s four things we can hopefully look forward to over the coming months:
1) Three points against West Ham
To achieve great things you’ve got to start small. Consecutive 1-0 wins over Leicester and Sunderland were great, but the altogether more intimidating Upton Park awaits.
West Ham started well but injuries have seen them slide down the table. Nonetheless, they are a tough side to beat and their fans will be well up for it on Saturday lunchtime.
A win would prove that Klopp is slowly getting to grips with the nuances of the league and would start to put more pressure of the teams above us, especially as we face Man Utd and Arsenal in the coming weeks.
2) A Capital One Cup title
Stoke are certainly no pushovers, but you’d like to think that over two legs and with the second game at Anfield we will ultimately prevail.
A final against Man City would provide another chapter in what has become a growing rivalry between the two in recent seasons, but there is little denying that most supporters and neutrals alike want to see an all-Merseyside final against Everton.
Our most recent cup clash came in 2012 when we beat them 2-1 in the FA Cup semi-final, with the winner coming via Andy Carroll’s head in the 87th minute.
Either way, the game would be Klopp’s first shot at silverware. He will want to avoid the fate of Rafa Benitez, who lost against Chelsea in the 2005 League Cup final.
3) A Europa League run
Klopp clearly fancies a run at the Europa League, as evidenced by his strong line-ups in the group games.
With a Champions League place on offer to the winner, there is every reason to believe Klopp may prioritise the tournament over the league come March/April – once again, much like predecessor Benitez did on the way to Istanbul back in ’05.
To say we are one of the favourites is a bit strong at this stage, but at least we’re now showing signs of understanding the requirements of European football – a trait that was absent in the ill-fated Champions League campaign of 2014.
If we can make it through the next two rounds and into the quarter-finals anything is possible, but whatever happens the squad will benefit hugely from the experience.
4) The top four
The most frustrating thing about the last month isn’t necessarily a few poor results against Watford and Newcastle – a new manager can be forgiven a few bumps – rather, it is that those results have come at a time when the sides above us have been dropping points for fun.
How high can we hope to finish?
United’s woes are well-documented, but it’s probably fanciful to suggest that they won’t improve soon. Leicester continue to perform beyond expectations but the top four is probably a bridge too far, while Spurs are one of the most in-form sides in the league and could yet be dark-horses for the title.
With Chelsea gone and Spurs looking so strong, it’s probably us or United in fourth. We play United at Anfield on 17th January – after a series of poor results against the old enemy at the end of the Rodgers reign, it’s high time to take all three points.