When Jürgen Norbert Klopp took the reins of Liverpool Football Club in early October, the hope was that there was enough time left in the season to push up the table. As it currently stands, Liverpool are just one place higher, ninth, than when Brendan Rodgers departed after the 1-1 draw in the Merseyside Derby.
There are caveats--there always are with sports fans--including the lengthy injury crisis, and the two games in hand. Still, if Liverpool want finally push up the table in an meaningful way, they'll have to find consistency that has been consistently lacking this season.
Emre Can, for one, is buying into Klopp's philosophy that there are still 27 points to play for, and that anything can happen.
"You should not only look at the standings," Can told the German magazine Kicker, "We still have to play one, two matches more than the teams ahead of us, we can still gain a few spots. Thus we have achieved something under Jürgen Klopp."
"You should look at the football we have played in recent weeks. We've made a huge step forward as a team and have put in good performances most of the time."
Can is not wrong about recent performances being better (catastrophic second half at St. Mary's notwithstanding). He also wanted to emphasize the importance of playing in Europe next season, and how that is still a goal worth achieving for this side.
"A berth in an international competition clearly has to remain our goal. Our problem is that we are just not consistent enough. We follow up two good matches with one bad match too often. We need to manage to be consistent for a longer period of time. This also applies to me."
To earn an automatic Europa League spot, Liverpool will have to finish at least sixth, which seems like an especially tall order after the most recent set back. One thing Liverpool will want to avoid is the multi-round summer qualification efforts that a 7th-place finish will likely bring.
As for the upcoming Dortmund tie, Can had the following to say:
"Dortmund are the slight favorites [but Liverpool have] a 50-50 chance. We have come so far in the Europa League, we now want to win the competition."
So, it's 50-50 but Dortmund are favorites. Math(s) checks out.