There’s nothing lucky about the Reds’ title challenge; that’s the opinion of commentator and broadcaster, Clive Tyldesley.
In a column for The Anfield Wrap, he disputed claims we’ve had undue amounts of fortune this season by boldly suggesting that Sunday’s game against Spurs “was the first time in this entire league campaign that Liverpool have come away from a game with more than they truly deserved.”
Tyldesley pithily summed it up by saying: “Champions are rarely popular. They are never lucky.”
A last-minute blunder by Hugo Lloris, compounded by Toby Alderweireld, gave us the win at Anfield.
Liverpool are extremely lucky, yes, but Pochettino is a serial bottler. His record away from home vs PL’s top 6 club is shocking. Should focus on improving on that rather than diss Pep every time.
— Positiespel (@Cruijffista14) March 31, 2019
However, Tyldesley admitted that “Liverpool got a little lucky just before 6.30pm at Anfield last Sunday evening. A draw with Tottenham would have been a fair result (whatever the hell a “fair result” is) but sport was never meant to be fair.”
Spurs threatened to take the advantage with a late counter, but consummate reading of the game by Virgil van Dijk saw us come through unscathed and snatch the late winner.
There was no measure of luck in the way the Dutchman handled that situation – he narrowed Moussa Sissoko’s angle, options, and odds by doing his homework putting it into practise.
So, Tyldesley speaks a lot of sense when he mentions “the launch of a new statistical calculation of “fair results” called Expected Goals. Liverpool actually beat Spurs 1.09 to 1.05 on “xG”. They weren’t quite as lucky as has been made out.”
There are so many variables and elements of chance in football – sometimes it’s just about minimising the odds as Van Dijk did.
When you think about it, “the 11 millimetres by which Liverpool failed to take the lead at the Etihad in January remain the most telling fractions of the title race to date. Lucky is what Vincent Kompany got that night, if you remember.
”Liverpool has been so damn lucky this season”
… 🤷🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/wwo3jbhoNR
— Ville Lampinen (@VilleLampinen) March 31, 2019
“Every season is littered with moments of controversy and confusion. Luck can be annoyingly fickle in the short term but it does tend to correct itself over time.
“It’s a matter of fact that Sadio Mane’s disallowed goal at Arsenal in November was onside. Just as his point-earning goal at West Ham in February was offside,” Tyldesley perceptively continued.
“Justice is rough but it’s ready eventually.”
The Lloris howler has its comparisons with Jordan Pickford’s inexplicable goalkeeping in the Merseyside derby, but we’ve forced those errors by testing them and forcing our point.
The title race is a marathon, not a sprint and those moments, while vital, clearly haven’t won us the league yet.
“Just getting to the last bend on City’s shoulder confirms Liverpool as good enough to be champions in my book. It’s a toss of the coin now, it could go either way. To win anything worth winning in sport, you’ve got to put yourself in a position to lose it all.
“What happens from here will require, yes, nerve, balls and courage of convictions, but it will also need a slice or two of good fortune,” Tyldesley admitted.
“When you’ve come this far with your dream still in tact, you damn well deserve every ounce of luck you get.”
Some games have been tighter than they should have been, but we’ve rightfully earned all 79 points as our full-tilt title challenge rushes on!