When the final whistle blew last night, a deep, dark fear popped up from the recesses of my mind: the fear of being in the Europa League in February. It is a fear that spurred Steven Gerrard on in the final group game in 2004. And it is a fear, no doubt, shared by many Liverpool fans this morning.
Of course, in 2004, as in the last two years, Liverpool needed a final group match result in order to progress (all the way to the final on all three occasions, in case you’ve forgotten). Unlike those group games, however, this one will not be played within the safe confines of Anfield.
Regardless, captain Jordan Henderson is confident our quality will get us over the line.
“We would have liked to have won tonight to finish the job off, but Napoli are a good side and made it difficult and we could only get a point,” Hendo said after the match to BT Sport.
“We’re still in a decent position, but there’s one game left and we need to go and get a decent result there.”
“We’ll stay positive. We’ve still got a job to do away but we’re confident we can do that.”
Last time out against Salzburg ended up being a mad one. Liverpool looked as good—if not better—than they have all season, scoring three fantastic goals in the opening half an hour.
It looked as if Liverpool would cruise to three easy points, but Salzburg responded with three unanswered goals, before Mohamed Salah found the winning goal on the night.
As entertaining as the match might have been, it also makes the math on the final day difficult if Liverpool do not get at least a draw. As a reminder, the head-to-head record is the first tie breaker in Champions League, and that includes away goals.
Aside from the disappointment of not advancing (and the fear of the Europa League), it also makes an already hectic December way worse. Regardless, this team almost never does things the easy way, so a last-day showdown awaits.