It’s incredible how quickly things can change in this sport. A couple of bad tackles and the knock-on effects of a run-away injury crisis transformed Liverpool from a title contender that hardly lost in 2 years, to a team that can’t find a win with two hands and a flashlight in just a few months.
Despite their best efforts to “circle the wagons” and deal with adversity—something that served them well until Christmas—Liverpool now find themselves looking up at the top 4, and facing a real climb to get back into contention.
However, those coveted Champions League spots are still up for grabs, and Jurgen Klopp is still targeting a Top 4 finish. Of course, the gaffer isn’t so naïve to think that it isn’t a big challenge ahead.
“Big. Absolutely, nothing else to say,” Klopp told the club’s official website, “You see it yourself, you see the competitors.
“Look, it’s not about the possible performance. So, the game we played against Leicester we lost, we know, but the performance we showed that day, that was a game usually one team wins.
“But it’s all about results. I don’t say that’s not right. No, the table doesn’t lie – never. That’s completely fine. It’s just we know performance-wise we are not so far away but result-wise we are – and that’s what we have to change.”
If Liverpool are to start picking up results, they better start soon. Things are already looking quite tenuous for the Reds, and a few more bad results will be enough to do them in.
The situation around injuries hasn’t made things easy for the boss. In fact, it’s been like a game of Whack-a-Mole this season.
“For all the different reasons that it was a difficult season so far for us, we always tried to sort it. Honestly, we try with all we have to sort it. Then while you sort one problem, another problem occurs, that’s how it is. Then you try to sort that and then another.
“So, that’s in a season when it’s not going perfect obviously and that’s, for sure, for us the case. Then it means now other clubs with big potential, City we don’t have to talk about, but United, Leicester, Chelsea, West Ham in and around us, Tottenham have similar problems maybe like we have, Arsenal maybe as well. So, there’s a distance to go for us. We don’t have to think about that really, we have to think about Sheffield United.
“If we can do that then maybe we are a step closer or not, then Chelsea’s coming and that’s a proper game as well. So all these kind of things, that’s what’s going on. If we would do it in the end, yeah, that would be big.”
This season is quickly becoming one to forget for the Reds. But missing out on the Top 4 would be a big blow, both financially and reputationally, for Liverpool. The club, under Jurgen Klopp, has just again started getting a reputation as a top European side. It would be a shame to take a step back after several years of domestic and international brilliance.