Across the first six games of their 2022-23 season, it would be fair to say that Liverpool were better than their results. In their seventh game, the first group stage outing of the new Champions League campaign, they weren’t.
Wednesday night’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Napoli was a deservedly lopsided scoreline that rather feels like an exclamation point on the difficult start and undeservedly poor results in the league to start the season.
“It’s a tough one to take,” said centre half Virgil van Dijk of the defeat. “We’re not in the best shape, the best situation, but we’re going to make this right. That’s the confidence I have. But we need each other, need to stick together.
“Not only as players but the whole club. We’ve been through it all so that’s the message. We’re all human beings, we want to try to perform as well as we can but sometimes you can have a bad patch. At the moment we’re in it.”
Be it injuries or a failure to implement tactical tweaks or tired players—either a core grown older or simply a core that’s played too much football and hungover from last year’s narrow quadruple miss—this now feels a side in crisis.
In football, though, memories can be short—often for the worse, but sometimes the better. A few positive results from the three games to play before the international break and the mood will change; the narrative will change.
Win against Wolves and Chelsea in the league, and the Reds will expect to go into the break within striking distance of the top of the table. Win against Ajax in the Champions League, and their group chances will be back on track.
“I’m confident we can get out of this and enjoy our football again,” Van Dijk added. “Stick together, don’t point fingers. Everyone knows that everyone can do better. We’re trying to perform but you can have bad moments.
“It’s how you deal with them, and now we’ll definitely have a good look at what happened tonight together, speak with each other, and focus on the game ahead of us and hopefully we can get a great performance and result.”