After last night’s humiliating 5-2 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid at Anfield and with Liverpool mired in eighth place in the table, it’s natural perhaps for fans to think the Reds’ season is all but over before March.
For the players, though, if there is to be any chance of salvaging something from a dire 2022-23 campaign, they will need to react with anger—and take that anger out on Crystal Palace on the weekend when they return to league play.
“It’s is difficult but it is the hard reality and something we have to deal with,” centre half Virgil van Dijk said of the need to rebound quickly following Tuesday night. “We have to deal with as a group, as a unit.
“It’s not been the easiest season, but the only way out of it is to stick together. That’s the message, even now. Everyone is angry, everyone is disappointed, but the next game is in a few days. We have to quickly flip the switch.”
Liverpool play Palace, Wolves, Manchester United, and Bournemouth before the second leg of their Round of 16 Champions League tie, and how results in those four games will determine if they have any hope of finishing top four.
Anything less than ten points likely confirms that their domestic season will end out of the Champions League places—and given the club’s form this season and some of their humbling defeats, that seems a monumental task.
“We’re not robots, sometimes mistakes happen and unfortunately that is the case,” Van Dijk added. “The only thing we can do is learn from it and focus on the next one to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
“In the last two games we played well and that’s something we should focus on as well and don’t be in panic. Obviously we are all disappointed we lost, that is how we should be, but we have to recover and focus on Crystal Palace.”