Everyone expected that Liverpool would experience a hangover after last season, when they were so close to winning an unprecedented quadruple, only to end up missing out on the two trophies that mattered the most. But even the most doom and gloom observer could not have predicted the extent to which Klopp’s team would drop off this campaign. It’s been a disaster, to put it mildly. The club is going through a difficult period and the future is very much uncertain.
To get an idea of what the future may bring, it’s important to look at what’s going wrong and what is going right at the club. Let’s take a look.
It’s hard to win a football game in the Premier League at the best of times, but when you have a midfield that is continually blown away by the opposition, it becomes even more difficult. The trio of Henderson, Thiago, and Fabinho have been brilliant for Liverpool over the past few years, but it seems that the high intensity of the team’s play has caught up with them.
It’s possible that Klopp thought that he could get one more good season out of his midfielders. Alas, that didn’t happen. Until the club invests in quality replacements, they’ll continue to struggle.
Some of Liverpool’s issues have been beyond their control. They’ve had injuries. Of course, all clubs have to contend with player injuries from time to time, but Liverpool seem to have been especially hurt by it. They’ve been without Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota for large parts of the campaign, and there’s no doubt that the team would be in a much higher position in the league had they had those players available. There’s hope that both players, along with Firmino, Van Dijk, and Melo, could return in the coming weeks, which would be a massive boost in time for the closing part of the season.
New Signing Issues
Liverpool lost one of their best players — indeed, one of the best players on the planet — when Sadio Mané joined Bayern Munich in the summer. The team were always going to miss such quality, but they hoped that the replacements would fill some of the gap. That hasn’t quite happened. Darwin Núñez has looked promising for Liverpool, but it’s clear that he’s going to need at least another season before he shows his best form. Cody Gakpo was bought in January to try to help the team, but he’s done little of note so far. It wouldn’t have been fair to expect those new signings to hit the ground running, but it has made Liverpool’s challenge all the more difficult.
The Rise of Rivals
In many other seasons, Liverpool might have gotten away with their poor form. Alas, this year has been unusually challenging. Every team that ends up in the coveted top four positions will very much have earned their chance to compete in the Champions League. Over the past few years, Liverpool benefitted from the poor form of Manchester United and other historic rivals. This year, Manchester United, Arsenal, Newcastle, Tottenham, and Brighton have all been performing well, which makes Liverpool’s struggles all the more evident.
Champions League Confidence
It hasn’t all been bad news for Liverpool. They’ve been poor in the league, but they were more or less flying in the Champions League group stages, winning five of their six games. While everything is doom and gloom at the moment, a good run in Europe’s premier competition could bring a happy atmosphere back to Anfield. Of course, they’ll have to overcome Real Madrid in the round of 16 first. Yet, though Liverpool don’t look like a Champions League winning team, there will be plenty of people using a free bet offer from OddsChecker to back Klopp’s men to do so. They’re outsiders, but they’ve been outsiders before and won the competition. If they can manage it this year, it’ll put a very different spin on the season.
It’s not just on the field that Liverpool have had issues. They’ve been dealing with some drama off the pitch too. The news that Liverpool owners had put the club up for sale sent shockwaves through the football world. While it shouldn’t necessarily impact the performance of the players, it does so in subtle ways. For example, there will be many employees within the club who are unsure if they’ll still have a job in six months. Some key employees have left. This all leads to an uncertain environment, which, at this level, can be hugely impactful. The best teams are the ones where everyone at the club is pulling in the same direction.
Manchester City’s Fall
The news that Manchester City may be in trouble with the Premier League over financial irregularities isn’t, of course, good news, but it could benefit Liverpool, in a number of ways. For one thing, it might cause the decline of their closest rivals. It’s hard to imagine that the club will operate at the same high standards as the past few years when they’re in so much turmoil. Liverpool could also benefit by adding a couple of Premier League titles to their trophy cabinet if Manchester City are stripped of their previous titles. It’s unlikely that this will happen, and even if it did, Liverpool wouldn’t celebrate too much. But there’s little doubt that what’s bad news for Manchester City is probably good news for Liverpool.
There would be questions surrounding any manager’s position after such a fall in form. And Klopp is no different. But the good news for Liverpool and its fans is that the owners have no intention of finding a replacement for the man who has brought such joy over the previous seven years. The club’s problems are bigger than Jürgen Klopp. If the club can release funds to secure the signings that the German manager needs to take Liverpool back to the top, then this year might just prove to be a blip.