Kha, Mei

Are teams already beaten by Liverpool's aura?


Liverpool's win over Manchester United on Sunday put them 30 points ahead of their old rivals. The aim for United from last season would have been to close the gap on Jurgen Klopp's side, but instead it's widening: they were 31 back from Liverpool at the end of last term, and by the end of this one it could be nudging 50. For a point of reference, the most points United have ever finished in front of Liverpool in the Premier League era is 37, in 2011-12.

The odd thing about Sunday's game at Anfield was that for long spells Liverpool absolutely battered United, but thanks to a couple of disallowed goals and some passed up chances they didn't pull ahead as they should have done. Indeed, United had a couple of extremely presentable chances, most notably for Andreas Pereira and Anthony Martial that could easily have sent the result in another direction. Liverpool were, very nearly, hanging on at the end before Mohamed Salah's brilliant counter-attack clincher.

In that respect it was similar to the win over Tottenham last weekend, in that Liverpool asserted their superiority so emphatically it was almost embarrassing, but the opposition missed some chances that could have taken the win away from them.

It's interesting that Spurs and United both snatched at the chances they had, which could well be something to do with the aura Liverpool have established in this ridiculous unbeaten run, stretching back over a year now. Teams have often seemed to 'play the aura' in terms of their tactics, and that could extend to opposition forwards not taking chances too: it's easy to see how they could think "This is Liverpool, I need to score this" and put extra pressure on themselves.

Whatever the reason is, Liverpool will be champions soon. They need ten more wins to confirm their Premier League title, and that relies on everyone else picking up maximum points. As the schedule stands, their tenth game from this point is at the Etihad Stadium against Manchester City.

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