For the past two years, Liverpool have been well clear of every other English team bar big spending Manchester City—and for most of last season, even City were well in the rearview mirror for Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. Now, they find themselves in a dogfight.
Four league games without a win and nine dropped points since Christmas has seen them drop from first to fourth. Now, with other sides having found form while Liverpool struggle, the question is whether they can get their season back on track.
“Obviously it changes the situation,” Gini Wijnaldum said. “Usually we’ve been the ones hunted. Now we have to hunt the teams above us. But the way we want to play the game, the way we want to play against other teams, I think that won’t change.
“We are not really trying to defend the title, we’re trying to win games. If you try to defend a title I think you’re looking too far ahead. We want to defend the championship but our mindset is not we need to win the title—it’s we need to improve our game.”
While a lack of finishing has grabbed most of the headlines in recent weeks, the Reds need to improve their game more broadly, as over their past four games they’ve only created about a half-goal more on average compared to their opponents.
Whether it’s the attack, midfield, fullbacks, or patchwork defence, no part of this Liverpool side has looked like the group that won 196 points over the past two seasons. Even taking injuries into account, though, it’s worth remembering this is that team.
It may be frustrating to watch, and if Liverpool can’t recover from their current slump there will be valid criticism for some of the choices made by those in charge, but for now all those watching on can do is hope the players can improve their game.