By Harry Ewbank
The Reds travel to Old Trafford on Sunday bidding to equal Manchester City’s record of 18 consecutive Premier League victories.
The run stretches back to March, where a 4-2 win at home to Burnley was a good response to a bore draw at bitter rivals Everton.
Over the last year Liverpool’s league record has been almost impeccable, with just the solitary defeat at Manchester City to add to the list.
At that point Jurgen Klopp’s side were in a commanding position at the top of the league — but draws against Leicester City and West Ham United in early 2019 stand out vividly as the stumbling block in an unsuccessful title charge.
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In the end, nine successive victories to draw out the season showed the resilience and grit in the current squad, however City recorded 13 wins in a row themselves in a breathless title race.
On the final day of the season Brighton’s Glenn Murray managed to rekindle the fire and hope for Liverpool fans across the world. Though hope of a Manchester City collapse on the final day was short-lived — Guardiola’s champions would go on to run riot and win 4-1 at the Amex Stadium.
There has been no let up since that disappointing day.
Champions League glory in Madrid has not simply satisfied the club, but whet the appetite for more. And with maximum points so far this season title talk is already a permanent fixture, nevertheless, such comment has been over-hyped by rival fans vying for the reds to crumble once again.
The gap back to City is currently eight points, and the coming month is already arguably the most important of the season.
Three of the next four come against the so called “big six”, though I think its safe to say this year’s Premier League has a pack of two and everyone else is fighting for scraps!
Sunday sees the most prestigious encounter of all — Manchester United away. The most prestigious yes, but far from the top-of-the-table spectacle it once was.
To equal the Premier League record for consecutive wins at Old Trafford would make the game even sweeter, although no game in this rivalry can ever be classed as easy.
United languish just above the relegation zone, with Everton just below them — as if being top of the league wasn’t enough to please the Anfield faithful.
On the contrary, after so many years of hurt being second best to United, Liverpool fans and players alike will be wary that there could be a reaction from Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s Red Devils.
United only have two League victories this season, though both have come on their home turf and it’s safe to say the game on Sunday has more at stake than it has in a good few years — at both ends of the table.
The end of October is going to be a stern test, on three fronts. An Anfield encounter with struggling Spurs is sandwiched between a Champions League away trip to Genk and a League Cup tie against Arsenal.
Jürgen Klopp has visibly shunned the opportunity of making domestic cups a priority during his tenure, however fans will hope he has the resources to keep the team in every competition. The only final appearance came in 2016 where the Reds lost out on penalties to Manchester City.
By the time the home fixture against Pep Guardiola’s side comes round on November 10, Liverpool have the opportunity to be on a 20-game winning run and, effectively, make it a season-defining match. This is just a fantasy for now, though — the next few weeks are going to be a rollercoaster ride.