Liverpool may be out of the running when it comes to making the top four in England, but with a League Cup final against Manchester City on the horizon and a return to the Europa League against Augsburg tonight, they still have a chance at a successful season that includes winning a few pieces of silverware.
As has been the case so often over the past year, whether things work out may come down to Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, both of whom returned from injury over the past week and played a key role in Sunday’s 6-0 demolition of Aston Villa. At least that’s what Nathaniel Clyne thinks, and it seems a hard point to argue.
"They are massive for us," enthused Liverpool’s starting right back following the return of the club’s two key attacking stars. "They can get us goals and offer a real attacking threat. It’s good to have them back, and you can see the difference their quality makes for us. I’m sure they’re hungry for the rest of the season."
Villa may be bottom of the league, but given the way Liverpool have at times struggled against sides below them in the table, a 6-0 win can’t be waved away entirely as Liverpool simply beating a side they should have. Much of that dominance was thanks to Coutinho and Sturridge. Now the hope will be that they can stay fit.
"We had a lot of injuries during a difficult period," added Clyne. "But we’ve got a lot of them back now and hopefully we can push on for the rest of the season. We want to build up our momentum. It would be great if we could win that cup. We know it offers a route to the Champions League and we’re taking it seriously."
With Liverpool getting the weekend off after falling out of the FA Cup, a strong lineup—including both Coutinho and Sturridge—is expected when the teamsheets are revealed for tonight’s match against Augsburg at WWK Arena.