It might not be quite over yet, and there might still be faint top four hopes, but it seems fair to say that Liverpool’s 2020-21 season has been a massive disappointment. The headlining reason for that is fair: it’s the injuries.
Yet while the ongoing defensive injury crisis is the inarguable primary problem, there’s also been the team’s issues to convert chances in attack, as the Reds have scored eight fewer goals than expected from open play.
“This is the worst season of my career, I have to admit it,” was Sadio Mané’s take on his own struggles this season as part of a front three that has fallen well short of their best as the Reds have fallen down the table.
“Ask me what is wrong and I will struggle to give an answer. Personally, I don’t know. I have always tried to be positive, no matter if things are going well or badly. I question myself all the time. I even underwent tests.
“Am I eating right? Has something changed? But they checked the results and everything is fine. I need to understand that in life there are ups and downs. So I will keep on working hard and perhaps this will pass.”
For Mané, for Liverpool, and for the fans that has to be the hope. That this will pass. That for payers like Mané, who a year ago was in the conversation as the best in the world at his position, that things will get better.
Maybe not this season, but maybe next. With the fans hopefully back. With the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez hopefully fit. After a chance, hopefully, to rest after an exhausting year both on and off the pitch.
A year ago, this Liverpool side won the Premier League. The year before they won the Champions League. As poorly as things have gone in 2020-21, that is what this group and players like Mané are capable of.
Hopefully, whatever happens the rest of the way in this difficut season, they’ll be able to collectively regain their fitness, find some time to rest, and get re-energised to show that again in the coming campaign.