It has been well-documented that Liverpool has been struggling in 2021. Our drop off in-form has been significant. The Reds have only managed to achieve nine points since Christmas. That is the equivalent to a 38-point season. Relegation form.
Therefore one can understand the pressure that Liverpool has received from supporters and the media alike then? Not entirely. This is a football club that was languishing in the doldrums of the Europa League five seasons ago.
We are champions of England and the World.
Albeit, our status as World Champions is likely to come to an end shortly. Consecutive 97+ points tallies is something completely unheard of. Manchester City has done the same but they have achieved this with a negative NET spend of £768,22m since 2015/16.
In contrast, Liverpool and Klopp have a NET spend of £158,98m in the same period.
Now before people attack me with their pitch-forks let me clarify my point.
My point is that Liverpool has achieved wonderful things in a sustainable manner. Doing so with a commitment to a playing style that has been both enthralling and efficient all along.
Lacking Cutting Edge
That famed efficiency has deserted us.
But there has been a multitude of factors that have conspired against the Reds. Again, I am not making excuses. We have to face facts sometimes.
Last season, Aymeric Laporte missed thirty games in total. People used this as a reason for Manchester City’s poor form. However, Liverpool have been without their first choice centre back pairing since October.
Virgil van Dijk has already missed thirty-seven games this season. Any side would struggle without the best defender in the world.
Throw fuel onto the flame by losing the other two senior centre backs and you find yourself in this predicament. We are effectively 13 points off the Premier League summit but many news outlets and social media users would swear that we are on the verge of relegation.
Absence of Spine
This comes as a result of Liverpool’s near perfect form since losing to Tottenham at Wembley in November 2017.
Since then, we have reached consecutive Champions League finals and been involved in two of the best league season’s in our history.
Key to that was the spine of our side. Alisson in goal, Virgil in the centre of defence, Fabinho and Henderson in midfield, and a mercurial Firmino at the top end of the pitch.
If we look at that spine now, we see problems.
Alisson has had a tough spell with injuries and illness. Virgil has been injured since October. Henderson and Fabinho have not featured in midfield together since the 17th of October. Firmino has not been at his dazzling best for a long-time now – one could argue that the aforementioned factors have been a major influence in the Brazilian’s performances.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt?
Thus, surely this Liverpool team has become victims of their own success?
Many people appear to have forgotten where this team has risen from. A few seasons ago, we couldn’t dream of a title challenge or a finish in the top four. However, under the stewardship of Klopp this has become the norm. A norm that supporters and the media have taken for granted.
Securing Champions League qualification would be seen as an incredible result in my opinion. Progressing to title contenders is obviously positive. But, paving the foundation for next season is vital.
We have contested against enormous odds.
Achieving Champions League qualification and getting a full pre-season is exactly the reward that Klopp and these lads deserve. We will be back next season.
Although, that is not to say that all is lost until June.
Walk On, With Hope in Your Heart
Knockout football awaits.
Ozan Kabak development is an exciting prospect. Diogo Jota and dare I say, Naby Keïta should return from injury. Finding our rhythm is something to get excited about. It is not all doom and gloom – at the end of a storm, there is a golden sky.
I firmly believe that our boys will put this behind them and deliver stellar performances regularly in the near future. If you owe one thing to this wonderful side, it is time and faith because they have not let us down yet.
We should remember that we are no longer doubters, we are Klopp’s believers.