Everyone loves the holiday season. Yes, 2020 has been a crappy year for most and we had to endure one of the most bizarre twelve months ever...
But we all know there is something about this time of the year that does something to people. Work seems to come to a standstill; people are in great spirits; the food, well, even TURKEY gets to be the star of a menu.
It is undeniably a great time. Even better if you are a football fan, with Boxing Day and New Year matches very much a staple of English football. And if you do happen to be a fan of Liverpool, congrats! — your 2020 is ending a whole lot better than everyone else.
It's a familiar position for Jurgen Klopp's side, sitting top of the Premier League table as the festive season rolls around. Last year's campaign saw Liverpool record a memorable 4-0 victory over Leicester City on Boxing Day, putting in arguably their best performance of the season.
Not much changed for Liverpool this year, as they clawed their way back to the summit after an impressive December — registering 10 points from four matches and scoring 14 goals in the process.
After a pretty uncomfortable start to the campaign, things are looking on the up for the Reds. So put on our Christmas hats and take a moment to reflect on all the good things that are happening right now, and hoping once again that Santa dishes us the ultimate present at the end of the campaign.
The return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool's injury record is well documented this season, with numerous key players facing lengthy periods on the touchline. So the sight of Oxlade-Chamberlain featuring for a quarter of an hour against Crystal Palace will be very much welcomed by Klopp and his team, as his versatility will prove to be crucial in these coming weeks. The Ox can slot into both the midfield and frontline, potentially giving the likes of Gini Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane a well-deserved break.
The former RB Salzburg boys look back to their best...
There were plenty of positives from the match against Palace — clean sheet, return of the Ox, seven sensational goals... and the one that went under the radar might be how well all three of the former RB Salzburg boys performed.
Sadio Mane — despite still playing well all season — finally broke his goal drought against the Eagles with a well-taken goal; Takumi Minamino slotted home his first Premier League goal that would mean the world to him; Naby Keita completed a rare 90 minutes and put in an outstanding shift.
Confidence will be oozing out from the trio, who will all be buzzing from that performance (ok, maybe just except for Mane). The next game cannot come soon enough.
Top of the tree at Christmas
Before last season, Liverpool have led four times at Christmas (1996, 2008, 2013 and 2018) and somehow the title had landed elsewhere on each occasion.
The Reds put a halt to that horrific track record in some style last season, eventually running away with the league title by a comfortable margin.
With Tottenham Hotspur dropping more points over the weekend against Leicester City, Reds will enter the New Year top of the pile regardless of the results. With Klopp still at the helm, the Reds look poised to officially reverse the record and if they can hang on to the lead until the end of the season... no one will be talking about that dreaded stat anymore.
Curtis Jones... what a player
Losing your first-choice defensive partnership at the early stages of the season is a crushing blow to any team. But perhaps the one positive that Klopp can take after losing Joe Gomez and van Dijk for potentially the entire season is the emergence of young Curtis Jones.
Fans are not exactly unfamiliar with the English midfielder, having featured in several games for the Reds last season — including the sublime strike against Everton in the FA Cup. With Fabinho being shifted to the back due to the crisis in defence, Jones will be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities this season.
But it is how the 19-year-old has stepped up to the plate and took the Premier League like a duck to water this season that will impress the most. A standout performer in the game match against Fulham and Spurs — he displayed a mature head on some very young shoulders and it will not be long before he finds himself a part of Gareth Southgate's plans.
Rose through the Liverpool academy, the sky is the limit for the current number 17, and we cannot help but draw comparisons to a certain Steven Gerrard who at one stage donned the same number.
And finally... BBC Team of the Year 2020
The boys at Melwood received their early Christmas present after being crowned the 2020 Team of the Year at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards show. It is perhaps the greatest way to end the year for the Reds, and a testament to the successes they are enjoying on the pitch.
The award will be an incredible achievement for Klopp and his team — following up their Champions League triumph in 2018 by clinching the 2019-2020 Premier League title in recording-breaking fashion, after a three-decade-long wait.
Oh, do not forget the FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup too, all won in the very same campaign. Did we also mention the current unbeaten run at Anfield, which stretches to an unbelievable 66 games?
What. A. Team.