The return of the Champions League this week couldn’t have came at a better time for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. With back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, the Champions League offers Liverpool a chance to right their wrongs and get back to winning ways.
This Premier League season may not be reaching the heights of last season’s but that’s not saying The Reds can’t find success in the Champions League.
Liverpool’s Champions League Campaign So Far
In this season’s Champions League, Liverpool topped their group. Of the six games played they won four, drew one and lost one.
The team also scored 10 goals and kept four clean sheets (all without Virgil Van Dijk). These are obvious signs of an in form team. However, since making it to the Round of 16, their Premier League form has been inconsistent.
Despite the poor league form, the Champions League offers them a chance to get to winning ways and the opportunity to conquer Europe once again. It may seem crazy, but the Anfield faithful have seen it happen before.
In 2005 Liverpool finished the Premier League season in fifth place. The team posted a record of 17 wins, seven draws and 14 defeats but fared much better in cup competitions.
Although they were eliminated in the third round of the FA Cup, they did reach the final of the League Cup which they lost 3-2 to Chelsea. Despite not lifting a trophy in England The Reds made it all the way to the Champions League Final in Istanbul and famously came back from being 3-0 down to beating AC Milan on penalties.
Last Chance of Silverware For Liverpool
With this memory in mind, Jurgen Klopp will surely emphasize to his players that the Champions League is their only competition left and the last chance of winning silverware this season.
Liverpool’s poor Premier League form could be down to a mixture of things: constant injuries and VAR decisions going them; all of which are all out of the club’s control.
The squad can and will stick together with Klopp saying in his press conference, “We will sort it by playing football, we will sort it together by fighting with all we have. That is the plan.”
The Champions League offers Klopp and his men a range of different circumstances to think about. Those being a two legged match, foreign opposition and their opponent’s style of play.
Two Legged Match
Now in the Round of 16 knockout stages, the Reds will have to win a two legged match to progress to the next round. They will have to continue doing so if they wish to make it to the final.
In a two legged match where the winner is decided on the aggregate score, Liverpool will have to be on it from the first whistle in the first leg to the last whistle in the second.
Two legged matches are something that the mentality monsters have thrived off in previous seasons. In the quarter-finals of the 2017/18 Champions League season Liverpool defeated Manchester City 5-1 on aggregate. In the 2018/19 campaign Liverpool beat Porto 6-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals and beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
Klopp knows how to navigate the competition and his good track record shows this. With Dortmund Klopp reached the Champions League final once and with Liverpool (so far) he has reached a Europa League final and two Champions League finals.
Liverpool Vs. Foreign Opposition
For most footballers the prospect of playing against some of the best teams and players in the world is the dream. The thought of beating one of the best in the world would excite and fire up any individual and the Champions League offers just this.
This is an opportunity for the Reds to show the world why they are the currently Premier League holders and that they beat the best like the have done in previous seasons. To do this the Reds will have to be fierce and brave.
Style Of Play
Out of the teams left in this season’s competition not too of them play with the low defensive block which is something Klopp and his analysis team should be relishing at the thought of.
There’s no time in the Champions League when you only have two matches to progress. When Liverpool have faced big teams this season they have for most of the time played their best football and usual won with the exceptions of the recent defeats to Manchester City and Leicester City were they played great football but couldn’t come away with the win.
In the previous league match against Leicester the Reds played and controlled the game for the best part of 75 minutes until a few blunders cost them all three points. It must be reminded that everyone player is human and every human makes accidental mistakes.
Getting out of England for tomorrow nights first leg will help the players to get into a different headspace and hit the reset button.
This big European competition has a lot of different factors compared to the Premier League and Tuesday’s match against Red Bull Leipzig offers the chance for Liverpool to forgot their Premier League form and battle in Europe.