Liverpool FC have started the season well, with Luis Suarez still to return
Unlike most football fans, I love International breaks; chiefly because they give me the odd weekend off to cram my August-May social life into two or three weekends.
Windsurfing, skydiving, motor racing – don’t be ridiculous. More likely a couple of beers and a trip to the cinema instead of hurtling up and down the motorways of England and, in the last couple of seasons, Wales.
But this two-week gap will be particularly pleasurable, as I’m having considerable difficulty wiping a smile off my face. It’s not that often that we can savour the league table, especially after having beaten Man United to get there.
So an extra week to revel in the glory, however short-term it might prove to be, is very welcome indeed.
And what an atmosphere last Sunday. The feelgood factor engendered by a strong start to the season, plus the prospect of piling pressure on our old friend David Moyes-Ferguson, seemed to mix a heady cocktail which had the whole ground jumping.
Even my fellow occupants of the Lower Centenary were moved to shuffle their knees, at great physical pain I might add.
If there were any lingering doubts among Moses, Sakho and Ilori in the stands, then they were surely dispelled by the raucous passion on display around the ground. “Is it like this every week, Mr Ayre?” “Yes lads, doesn’t matter whether it’s Man United or Fulham, it’s just the same”.
Looks like they believed it.
I suppose it was no surprise that the match followed the same pattern as the previous three.
Do the business in the first half, then pack away the adventure and dig in.
Each has seemed to stem from a different cause however. Against Stoke, after a blistering first 45, I think we were just too knackered to persist.
At Aston Villa we backed off, Brendan apparently concerned that we might be caught out by their counter-attacking style, completely ignoring the fact that it hadn’t caused us any problems in the first half.
Onto Notts County, and that old devil complacency clearly reared its head, and nearly brought our fine start to a juddering halt.
Against United, I think it was a combination of tactical prudence and a good hiding that made us wait until two minutes from time to see a shot on target from a man in black.
What has been very evident though, is that whatever you might think about Brendan Rodgers, the players are right behind him.
No-one can fault the work-rate amongst the team and it was noticeable that Daniel Sturridge made a beeline for the manager when he scored the early goal, despite the efforts of Martin Skrtel to wrestle him to the ground.
Jordan Henderson also appears to be willing to sweat buckets for the cause and deserves praise for his determination to get in the starting XI.
Can we keep it up?
Well we can’t rely on 1-0 wins all the time that’s for sure.
The defence is looking stronger, and Mignolet may prove to be an inspired signing.
But, as ever, we need more people to wade in with some goals.
Aspas looks neat and tidy, but looks to be struggling with the physical side of the game and, so far at least, has offered little goal threat.
If only we had a world-class striker to bring into the team. Hang on a minute…