With three wins, two draws, and two defeats since the restart, Liverpool clearly haven’t been at their best. But then, with the league won, they haven’t had to be. And it’s not as though they’ve been bad, either.
Lacking a bit of sharpness in front of goal, prone to dropping their concentration in key moments defensively. Not terrible, perhaps, but clearly short of their best. And now set to face a rather unusual challenge.
“It’s not the easiest game I’ve ever prepared for with the team because there are two things to prepare for,” Jürgen Klopp noted at his pre-match press conference today. “We have to play for something as well.
“We know it’s not just about waiting for the party to start. But now we have to see how we deal with it. I’m very positive that the boys will put a good performance out there but if it is enough we will have to see.”
They will also be playing a team with everything on the line. Chelsea sit third, but they’re just a point ahead of Leicester City and Manchester United, and a loss could put Champions League qualification in doubt.
In the end, though, with as good as Liverpool have been this season and as separated as they are from the rest of the pack, the biggest question will be how well they play and how sharp they are tomorrow night.
A win for the Reds is far from essential, but lifting the trophy after a victory would feel even better, and if they can gather themselves up for one last home match we could be set for an enjoyable event before the event.
“As a club, as a team, we have to prepare for two things,” Klopp added. “There will be a game and a trophy lift, and for us after the Arsenal game we spoke about the challenges for this week and that we have to focus.
“So in training it looked all set, all good, and now we must make it is not easy for [Chelsea]. We know small details will decide the game and we have to be ready to respond and make things right.”