Liverpool, having won only 13 of its 30 league matches so far, has dug themselves into a pretty substantial hole. FiveThirtyEight only gives the Reds a 12% chance of qualifying for the Champions League, which honestly feels generous, despite the occasional flashes of brilliance from Liverpool this season (the most recent 6-1 win against Leeds United being a prime example).
That said, 12% isn’t 0%, at least not yet. If Liverpool can win out—A BIG IF—they will finish on 71 points, having taken 3 points off another European contender in Tottenham. And 71 points is just about where you would expect a fourth placed team to finish.
Further, Liverpool’s run in is about as kind as you could hope for, at least on paper.
Of course, the problem with this season isn’t the “big matches” where Liverpool have sort of resembled themselves, but rather the bottom half sides, particularly away from home. Today’s opponent Nottingham Forrest, for example, handed Liverpool a defeat in the reverse fixture.
These poor results, often immediately after a big win, are why Liverpool are in this mess in the first place.
Regardless, Klopp is still keen on fighting to the last day, and seeing where the chips fall.
“From our point of view, today gives us an opportunity to build on the work that you have seen in recent weeks,” Klopp said in the matchday program.
“I said after the victory against Leeds United earlier this week that the most important thing for us to do now is to try to create our own momentum. No-one is going to give it to us. It’s not as if an opponent is going to do it for us, so we have to do it ourselves.
“The good thing is we have done this in the past so there is no reason why we cannot do it again. We do not need to give ourselves any objectives other than this. After every positive – and negative – result I am asked what it means for the rest of the season, but it makes no sense for us to think like that in the season that we are having.
“Performing and hopefully getting a good result in the next game is the only thing that matters right now and if we do this everything else will start to take care of itself.”
The gaffer admitted that the “one game at a time” mantra was a cliché, but still one that could prove helpful in the run in. And it’s true.
Liverpool did what they had failed to do all season on Monday night: win on the road to a bottom 10 side. They’ll need to do it a few more times if they want to actually make a run at the Champions League, including on Wednesday night against West Ham.
To paraphrase the great baseball manager Lou Brown, “OK. We won a game on Monday. If we win today, it’s called ‘two in a row.’ And if we win again on Wednesday, it’s called a ‘winning streak.’ It has happened before!”