Over the first four months of the season, Liverpool’s form had them being talked about as title contenders. Now the title appears well out of reach and, unless they can recover following a dire January run, the top four could be lost as well. Mistakes have clearly been made. Now the goal is to put them in the past.
A thin squad unable to cope with the logjam of fixtures in December and January, a style of play that can be unforgiving when everyone isn’t at their sharpest. At least now, with a lightened schedule, that should be less of an issue, though there will be larger issues for Jürgen Klopp to address down the road.
“We have made some mistakes in the season, we already know it,” Klopp admitted. “But we can only sort it at the end of the season. That’s what we want, to get everything that is possible, and yes these boys are really able to do some outstanding, fantastic things but obviously we have to do them more consistently.”
In the short term, without a game until the 27th, Liverpool are heading off for a “pre-season” training camp in Spain. They won’t face more than one match a week the rest of the way this season. That all should, at least on paper, be enough for them to rediscover something like their stellar early season for.
Learning to play at that level consistently, though, is something this squad clearly struggles with, and it is consistency that Klopp will need to address once all the points are added up and Liverpool head into the offseason—hoping their winter collapse won’t have cost them a place in the Champions League.
“That’s how a top team needs to think,” he added. “At this moment we are near the top of the league, and that’s good. Now we need to carry on. You know that when the season was 12 weeks old, in September and October, we were really flying and people were saying to me: ‘Oh my God, can you be champion?’
“If we play like that all the time, probably we can. If not, it is difficult. Yes, we are able to do some really good things, but sometimes things need time.”