Liverpool being submerged in a crisis in the first couple of months of the new season and finding themselves off the pace in the title race is not something anyone would have expected while making predictions.
From injuries of key performers to poor form, it is been a storm of a myriad of issues for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side was not timid in their 3-2 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium but showed vulnerabilities in almost every pitch area. Be it a lack of defensive organisation or an ageing midfield, Klopp’s side looks a million miles away from the team who have reached three Champions League finals in the last five campaigns.
After eight games, Liverpool find themselves 11th on the table with just 10 points. Just two wins from their opening eight games have left them 14 points behind table-toppers Arsenal, thus, virtually knocking them out of the title race.
Clearly, there is frustration in and around Anfield; Jurgen Klopp’s system after years of success has started showing chinks, with the midfield offering the defence nowhere near enough security and energy lacking throughout the team.
As aforementioned, injuries to Ibrahima Konate, Diogo Jota, Joel Matip and Andrew Robertson at the start of the season did not help their cause. Individuals such as Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson have seen a dip in form. Darwin Nunez endured a slow start to his Liverpool career, and while he is compensating for it of late, the initial comparisons with Man City’s Erling Haaland has long evaporated.
The Reds scrambled until the deadline day to sign a midfielder and ended up with an out-of-favour Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus when they should have prioritised revamping their ageing midfield in the summer.
The aftereffects of Sadio Mane’s departure have been well and truly felt, and the likes of Salah, Firmino and Diaz have simply not pressed their opponents as the Liverpool of last season did. This lack of cohesion and pressure from the front has had a direct impact on the Reds and is exposing many weaknesses in Klopp’s system.
Going from the last season’s dream of winning the quadruple at one point, to ending up with two domestic trophies, there is a possibility of several players of the squad still not being able to eliminate the emotional hangover from their systems. The confidence of the Liverpool players have clearly taken a hit and questions are now being asked over whether they can even finish in the top four.
Liverpool will come good at some point, even if that means not winning the Premier League title or even getting into the top two this term. Klopp will hope the Reds’ 7-1 battering of Rangers in the Champions League should lift his team’s spirit ahead of the big game against Man City at Anfield.
Of course, they need a herculean effort to stop the City juggernaut that has destroyed teams in the Premier League and in Europe thus far, but if they manage to do so and get a positive result, it will galvanize Klopp’s side for the rest of the busy schedule before the World Cup.
However, for now, getting into the top four looks a long shot for Liverpool.
I am Rohan Sengupta from one of the busiest cities in India, Mumbai. A Journalism graduate with a keen interest in sports, football is something I simply cannot live without and writing, discussing and analyzing the game is what I do 24*7.