When Liverpool drew their match against Southampton on Sunday, it looked as though they’d thrown away control of their own destiny this season. Fortunately for the Reds, it only took the next two hours for Manchester United to lose their next match and hand control back to Liverpool.
It’s still not a good result, and speaks to a larger problem Liverpool have had this season dealing with the mostly bottom-half sides that sit back looking to defend first, but it’s survivable. Or at least it is if Liverpool don’t follow it up with another stumble against West Ham this week.
“It’s not perfect, but it keeps us still on track and that’s the most important information,” was manager Jürgen Klopp’s take as he prepared his side for the penultimate game of the season. “Everybody wished that we’d [win] it, us included, but now it’s like this, we take this and work hard again.”
The frightening part, at least for the fans, will be that Liverpool will be working hard this week in preparation for facing another of the sorts of sides they have too often struggled against. The only hope will be that maybe, with nothing left for West Ham to play for, their opponent will let up.
The Hammers are safe and sound in mid-table with two games to play, a potential European place out of reach above them and relegation far below them. The same, though, could have been said for Southampton, and so even if the hope might be for an easier match this week, there isn’t the expectation for it.
“It won’t be an easy trip, we know that,” Klopp added. “We try it again and then we’ll see. We have to keep on going, that’s how it is, there’s no alternative. We want it, we will fight until the final whistle, and until now I didn’t hear the final whistle, so we’ll keep on fighting.”