In 2021 we are once again experiencing a weird and difficult year. Many of us Liverpool fans look forward to seeing the Reds play with the hopefully expectation of a victory but this season our team has ‘struggled’ and some of the reasons are ones that aren’t spoken about enough or at all.
This season, teams around the whole have experienced shocks unpredictability much more than usual and Liverpool have been in the thick of it.
Below I discuss what some of these of underlying issues are that could be the cause of the club experiencing a blip.
Problems Surrounding Liverpool
First of all, we are watching Liverpool play in the middle of a global pandemic.
The Covid-19 restrictions we have faced have not been mentally easy. Staying at home for long periods of time, not being able to visit family and friends and not being able to have a social life has been tough for everyone and footballers included.
Of course, you could argue that they are lucky to be able to get out and train/play football but they aren’t at the training ground all day. Before and after training they still have to go home and stay there.
Also, many foreign players probably haven’t seen their families in person for nearly a year and players that live alone are bound to have struggled with the loneliness. It’s been mentally tough for everyone.
Fixture Pile Up
Another factor is the shorter rest period as last season transitioned into the current season.
Teams have not had the same amount of time to rest and prepare for a 38 game Premier League season, Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup campaign like they normally would have.
Also since the beginning of this season, we have seen Liverpool play pretty much twice a week every week.
Little preparation matched with little rest, of course, would be a struggle for anyone.
Rest is so key to athletes’ bodies and not enough rest can be a cause for injuries and a slower recovery.
This leads me into another big matter in question.
Many teams, and Liverpool especially, have faced a long list of injuries.
Never in my life have I seen three senior centre backs sidelined out for the rest of the season inside the space of three months through injury. It’s unheard of.
Virgil van Dijk has been out since October, Joe Gomez since November and Joel Matip has experienced numerous occasions on the sideline and now he’s out for the rest of the season with an ankle issue.
I can’t even begin to imagine how overwhelming this must be for Jurgen Klopp. Thankfully he did the right and only thing he could in the January transfer window and brought in two senior centre-backs.
With our three absentees, their presence on and off the pitch has been seen. I think I can speak for us all when I say we all wish for Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip to have speedy recoveries and be back better than ever.
The fourth and final element I would like to discuss is the elephant in the room.
Empty stadiums have been detrimental for the Reds. The Liverpool side thrive off of their fans who often was their 12th man.
The fans create noise and electricity around Anfield. They encourage the team home and away but this season there has only been a select few times were fans could enter stadiums.
We seen in those few games what atmosphere with fans was like and what they could create. Watching on, I thought there were 20,000 fans nevermind 2,000 inside Anfield.
We have all witnessed the ability of us the fans and how they/we can play a big role when goal or two or even three down.
Reminisce to beating AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final or beating Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate in the 2019 Champions League semi-finals.
This season without the fans, the team hasn’t been as inspired and encouraged by 54,000+ fans to give their all.
The same could be said for Klopp’s former club Borussia Dortmund who currently find themselves 6th in the Bundesliga.
To conclude, with all the above situations that are out of our control, Liverpool currently find themselves 4th in the Premier League table and still in the Champions League.
We find ourselves in a better position than other rivals. Let’s all hope the team we support and love works as hard as they can do and gets themselves back to winning ways.