Like Thanos in Infinity War, Liverpool are made of Pure Will
‘Dread it. Run from it. Destiny arrives all the same.’ Or something like that. One of the great things concerning the early stages of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was how everything seemed geared towards its 20th film, Avengers: Infinity War. From the assembling of heroes to the discovery of infinity stones; from the masterpieces made, to the duds that were also created. Everything worked towards that showdown with the Mad Titan Thanos: i.e. Destiny.
It’s not quite the same for the 2019/20 version of Liverpool. After last season, the conclusion was it looked like they’d reached their peak; 97 points without winning the title – and a Champions League trophy to boot – surely that was just about it. They’ll probably put up a fight but it won’t be as close as last season, and Manchester City will just steamroller their way to another domestic triumph. No one really saw this coming. No one really anticipated and prepared for this.
Yet, here we are. 22 league games gone, the only reason Liverpool haven’t won 22 from 22 so far is because Manchester United held them to a point at Old Trafford last October. It was that same Manchester United that were guests this weekend, and at Anfield, there would be no such letting up this time, as the Reds have now beaten every team in the Premier League this season. They’re sixteen points clear of second place, with a game in hand.
But, it’s not just that. Not just that the Reds are walking to a first league title in 30 years with such ease that it’s perhaps time to make them play with only nine men to make things interesting. It’s that there’s an air of invincibility and inevitability that surrounds them in games. Like Thanos in Infinity War, they’re just too strong. They’re just too willed.
But perhaps the most fascinating thing about Jurgen Klopp’s team is how they don’t necessarily seem that far off. When Manchester City won the league in 2017/18, the football was swashbuckling, the weaknesses were almost non-existent. The question was ‘how do you solve a problem like Manchester City?’
For Liverpool, it’s different. Even in this victory of Manchester United, there were times when it looked like they could be got that, times when they looked a bit shaky. It happened against Spurs last week as well. It looked the same against Wolves in December, against Brighton and Man City in November, at Sheffield United in January, and at Southampton in August. Watch those games and you wonder what the fuss about Liverpool is really all about; they’re good, but they don’t look that good.
But as they showed against Leicester in December, they can still crank it up. So, it suddenly seems like they don’t really have to. Sometimes it almost feels like they don’t even want to. Like they want you to feel close, feel you can get something, feel you can touch them. Like they want to give you the illusion of hope, then they watch as it slowly drains from you. As they out-will you and leave you wondering what might have been. ‘But I was close’; “yeah, but that’s as far as you go”.
It all feels very much like Thanos. They’ve beaten the behemoths (Thanos pounds Hulk). They’re ahead of you, and almost give you the illusion of belief against them (Thanos finds the reality stone). They aren’t fazed by setbacks (Thanos sacrifices his daughter). And sometimes, it looks like you can touch them, but no (insert Iron Man yelling ‘we almost got this off!!’).
So, perhaps the question shouldn’t be about how you solve a problem like Liverpool. Perhaps the question should be ‘when will anyone solve a problem like Liverpool?’ Because, like Thanos, they’re not that complex, it’s rather straightforward, but the sheer force of will to go with the undeniable quality will always do for you.
Perhaps the only way to solve Liverpool is the way the Avengers did it, band together and go back in time. Travel to the past. Prevent Virgil van Dijk from happening. Prevent Jurgen Klopp from coming there in the first place. Prevent Anfield from seeming like a cauldron of sheer will and prevent the atmosphere from making football feel like a religion. If that fails, all 19 teams should come together to have a go at once. Then maybe, just maybe, we might see them bleed.
Kunle Ajao121 Posts
Kunle Ajao is a football writer and columnist for spotkick. Having made a toss of himself trying to actually play the game, he knew better and got a pen instead of boots. Spends a bit of his time with the game, and thinks he's a bit like Sid Lowe. He's not