Excuse my pointing out this is a soap box thread that could easily have been a post in this thread :
Anyway, with Mane we might have had a shot at 81 points, without him I'd be surprised if we managed more wins in a row than we did with him in the side - four in a row, twice (Leicester home, Chelsea away, Hull home, Swansea away and again Boro away, bitters away, Stoke home, citeh home)
Of course we're half way to that tally, but this is only the fifth time we've managed (starts off with) two in a row and whilst three have ended up 3-4, point is to stretch it to what would be seven is asking some when we couldn't manage more than four in a row WITH Mane............
We can all look at the fixtures and draw conclusions, "easy", "not easy", "hard", somewhere in the middle, all sorts of ways at looking at it ON PAPER (well cyberpaper) Well let's look at it from the "well how easy could they be?" angle, not to be negative, just no point looking at games and going "well we should win all of those!" and wonder after we lose why on earth we didn't..............
Palace (h) - Reverse fixture PAL 2-4 LIV.
They have ruffled a few feathers with wins at leaders Chelsea and rather too easily put away Arsenal just 10 days ago. They'll feel relatively comfortable being seven points clear of 18th and having won FIVE of their last seven games. They won't have Sakho, but we won't have Mane, and they'll have Benteke who could well come back to haunt us as it were.
Wasn't like we were easy winners at their's, 2-2 when they equalised on 33 minutes, a Matip header before half time saw us take the lead for the third time but it wasn't until Firmino's goal in the 71st minute that we put some space between us and them, this back when they'd won just three league games and two of them over resident bottom two Sunderland and Boro
Watford (a) - Reverse fixture LIV 6-1 WAT
Sitting midtable, we did stuff them earlier this season with three first half goals including one of his brace by Mane. Perhaps as relevant a result is the 0-3 defeat we suffered there last season, with Clyne, Coutinho, Can, Lucas and Firmino likely to start the game again (with Lallana and Henderson also starting that game)
To boot they've entered a run of three wins in their last four, the defeat a humbling 0-4 away defeat albeit at title contenders spudz. Not sure if three home wins in a row against modest opponents to relegation candidates is in their favour or can be ignored.
Southampton (h) - Reverse fixture SOU 0-0 LIV
Played them THREE times this season, haven't scored yet including a pair of 0-1 defeats in the semi final legs of the League Cup. Their form is patchy, may help our cause.
West Ham (a) - Reverse fixture LIV 2-2 WHU
Went ahead, behind and then drew against them in December, but for some reason made no further changes to the one before we equalised ie no changes out of a possible two for 42+ minutes
Good news is they are on a run of one win in NINE games, that a 1-0 over Swansea at home. Bad news is we lost 0-2 at their's and 0-3 at our's last season, and have beaten them just once in the past three seasons including this - January 2015, 2-0 at Anfield. To boot that includes two cup ties, one win in the last seven since our double over them in 13/14
Boro (h) - Reverse fixture MID 0-3 LIV
They've won only four games in the league, can't really hope for anything worse to visit surely? Beat them comfortably at their's, they haven't won in their last eight and if you take out cup wins over lower league opposition, or maybe just cups entirely, their last win was over four months ago and they've not won in 15 league games since said win four months ago (vs Swansea) = P15 W0 D6 L9 PTS 9
Pretty sure they're lowest scorers overall in the league, joint lowest away from home yet somehow conspired to draw more away than anyone else (seven - at WBA, West Ham, Arsenal, citeh, Leicester, Watford and Swansea) Unsurprisingly SEVEN of their 12 draws in the league have been 0-0, perhaps we shouldn't be too complacent given they drew at champions Leicester, and at citeh and Arsenal as well.
So I'd suggest we should be wary of palace, and of Watford, Southampton have the upper hand on us, West Ham seemingly the indian sign over us at the moment, and Boro have drawn 1/3 of their games so take nothing for granted with them either - and they might be relegated by then, that can often upset the apple cart when it comes to (less than) predictable results
People will believe what they want to believe