The day was Saturday 31st December, having ground out a gritty 1-0 win over Manchester City at Anfield, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were widely touted as potentially the only side capable of challenging the might of Chelsea for the title.
The Reds were competing on three fronts and their season was brimming with hope and expectations as fans began to allow themselves to dream again.
Fast forward just over a month and there is a very different mood on the red half of Merseyside. Liverpool’s season has crumbled to ashes and all the hope and expectation has quickly dissipated and turned to angst and disappointment. This seem’s to be the Liverpool way, massive highs are followed by crushing lows season after season.
Reds fans are having to come to terms with yet another trophy-less season after a calamitous January saw Liverpool dumped out of both domestic cup competitions as well as plummeting out of the top four in the league. With Manchester United knocking and Manchester City rejuvenated, fans will undoubtedly be concerned about Champions League qualification, which looked a given only weeks ago.
Jurgen Klopp has to find a way to turn things around. When fit, Klopp’s first eleven can be terrifyingly electric, tearing opposition defences to bits with ease, but his backing cast are woefully out of form and out of their depth. Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge can not find the net, Alberto Moreno, much like a shark, can only move forward, Emre Can
Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge can not find the net, Alberto Moreno, much like a shark, can only move forward, Emre Can looks totally uncertain of himself and the likes of Lucas and Ragnar Klavan look about as solid as custard when brought into the center of defence. Another concern will be the dreadful form of talisman Philippe Coutinho after his return from an ankle injury.
Of late it seems that opposing managers may have just figured Liverpool out, hanging deep and waiting for Liverpool’s dreadful defence to make a mistake, which is almost a guarantee at the moment. Swansea, Wolverhampton and Hull City have all used this counter attacking tactic brilliantly and it would not be a surprise if other teams follow suit.
Having not dipped into the transfer market in January, Klopp will have to work with what he has got. There is no doubting the talent he has at his disposal, we can easily forget that as of this moment, Jurgen Klopp’s side is still the joint top scorers in the league. This is still the same set of players that ruthlessly dispatched sides for four, five and even six goals in the first half of the season with ease. A top four finish is still very much within their reach but they have to arrest this slide and do it quickly.
The arrival of an on fire Tottenham side to Anfield this weekend might be seen as an ideal opportunity by most Liverpool fans. With Liverpool unbeaten against the current top six this season, the Anfield faithful are strangely more confident of earning points when welcoming title challenging sides than when battling a relegation struggler.
Liverpool have found goals hard to come by of late however and in Tottenham they face the best defence in the league. A massive performance is needed all round if Liverpool are to claim only their second win of 2017. A shakey defence will have their hands full with Harry Kane and Dele Alli, while Simon Mignolet will be under massive pressure to put in a shift that vaguely resembles that of a world class goalkeeper.
This is a massive clash for Jurgen Klopp and his team. They simply can not afford to drop points this weekend. A win is a necessity. The same could be said of Tottenham however. As they continue their pursuit of Chelsea, Harry Kane and co. will be looking to capitalise on Liverpool’s miserable run of form.
The same could be said of Tottenham however. As they continue their pursuit of Chelsea, Harry Kane and co. will be looking to capitalise on Liverpool’s miserable run of form.
If the Reds front four of Firmino, Coutinho, Mane, and Lallana can reignite their early season form, then we are in for one almighty bout on Merseyside.
A win at Anfield on Saturday may just be enough to get Liverpool going again as they look to salvage a Champions League spot to cushion the blow of missing out on silverware yet again. A loss, however, could see Klopp’s side cut further adrift from the Champions League places.