As the International Weekend approaches, Liverpool Football Club find themselves atop the Premiership for the first time under Rafael Benitez—and for at least 13 days longer than may have been expected, after Chelsea’s defeat at Villa Park this afternoon.
In the last week, Liverpool have scored 10 unanswered goals over two nights at Anfield. So much for suspicions that they couldn’t put teams away.
True, Toulouse and Derby County were primary school tests compared to some of the examinations that lie ahead—but you can only beat the club you're paired against.
In doing so with style, Liverpool have surged to their best start in a decade, finding themselves safely through to the Champions’ League group stage.
I suspect I'm not the only one to see the irony in Jose Mourinho’s postmatch comment this afternoon, in which he noted that Chelsea's visit to Villa Park was a tougher proposition than that faced by Liverpool.
With no disrespect to Birmingham City (Chelsea’s opening opponents), Liverpool supporters may have been forgiven for echoing the same sentiments when they won here on opening day.
Mr. Mourinho was as entertaining as ever in his interview, albeit in a manner rather more understated than is his wont. The manager's suggestion that he might be awaiting a call from Keith Hackett or today’s referee, Mark Clattenburg, regarding an uncalled penalty testifies to the fact that Mourinho often seems to be watching a different game than the rest of us.
All clichés about bad calls averaging out aside, this was, at best, a dubious penalty appeal—although in a different stratosphere than the one given by a certain referee at Anfield.
In any event, the diversion provided by the newly-coiffed Chelsea manager shouldn't detract from a thoroughly impressive week at Anfield. Names do not need singling out, which must be extremely encouraging for Benitez.
But this isn't a time to wax lyrical over performances at Anfield—it's a time to join the Merseyside football community in mourning the tragic loss of an 11-year-old boy who lived for his team and the sport.
There was a fitting gesture on Tuesday evening—the immaculate observation of a minute’s applause, with the sound of an Evertonian theme echoing through Anfield.
Moments like that put football, thoroughly unimportant as it is in the grand scheme, into a proper perspective.