Liverpool players are heading to La Manga for what Jürgen Klopp describes as “"pre-season for the rest of the season” with only 13 league games remaining. This training camp will give Klopp’s coaching team the chance to prepare the players for a successful run-in and recover the effervescence from earlier in the campaign.
Victory against Tottenham Hotspur provided a first league win of the year, but results against Leicester City, Arsenal, and Burnley will dictate whether the slump is truly over. The training camp in Spain should, combined with a light schedule that should suit a squad short on depth, provide similar results to previous breaks in Spain. Will La Manga have a similar effect to Barcelona and Tenerife?
Unlike those training camps, this one is timed perfectly for both players and fans. Despite the win against Tottenham, the atmosphere in the fan base was becoming a little too toxic for a season that hadn’t yet flatlined. It has undoubtedly been an extremely difficult start to the year with a collapse in form that turned a potential title challenge, a second successive EFL Cup final, and a possible FA Cup run into an increasingly fraught fight for a place in the top four with no domestic cups to fight for.
Saturday’s win keeps Liverpool within a point of Arsenal and Spurs, but more importantly, all the accusations and criticisms stopped. At least for now. Liverpool fans are hopeful, expectant, and often fickle. Our memories can be as long as they are short, but we had seen a vibrant Liverpool team looking dangerous and confident in the league again. The league matters. It always has. Apart from being champions, we want to see the team challenging again among the teams at the top.
Just one win in eleven games underlined how quickly a season can fall apart or appear to. The fun and thrill had been replaced by nightmarish disbelief. FSG, Klopp, the transfer committe and/or strategy, lack of leadership, foreign fans, and unwarranted contract extensions were all to blame. Everyone was culpable. Everything ally was the worst this time. Someone, anyone, needed to be held responsible. A strong start was forgotten, doubt in Klopp grew, and the players were never good enough.
After Liverpool return to play Leicester City, surprise Premier League champions and relegation battlers, February gives way to March. We will find out whether the good times from earlier in the season are back again, but perhaps we all need time to rediscover the enjoyment in following our favourite team. It probably is as simple as win games, play well, and experience all those feeling return once more. It doesn't, however, need to be a bitter experience whenever games don't turn out as we'd like them to.
While Liverpool players indulge in training montages to rediscover their form in La Manga, can we try to find a little bit of love in our support instead of entitled anger?