Football, just as life, has many ups and downs. You can touch the sky and then bottom out in just two seasons. Liverpool roamed poorly in the Premier League compared to their successful history just a few years ago. This way, their current situation should not be considered too catastrophic. However, it is true that the ‘Reds’ are too far away from the level they have shown under Jürgen Klopp´s excellent management.
The drop from the English club is a fact and their recent outcomes in the Premier League prove that. Furthermore, they were knocked out in the FA Cup by Manchester United. However, they are still alive in the Champions League and they should make it to the next round after beating Leipzig 0-2 in the first leg.
The cause for this poor performing is a mix of factors. First of all, and as we mentioned in previous articles, the short preseason and the few time to rest between the end of the 2019-2020 campaign and the start of the 2020-2021 have added too much effort to the players. The tight calendar has been the last straw: muscular injuries have blown up around Europe.
Liverpool have suffered several absences this season, some of them very serious: Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will not be available for Klopp for the rest of the season. They are the three starting defenders, which is why the defense line has been very affected. Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, defenders in order to replace the starters, fell injured as well. The Brazilian already overcame his physical issues, but the captain is still in the nursing.
On the other hand, Naby Keita and Diogo Jota (who had become an excellent game changer and, as a consequence, a great alternative to the three main strikers), have just come back to the team´s dynamic after being injured. All these absences have ballasted Liverpool throughout the entire season and, therefore, have had a huge negative impact on their game. The changes on each position in order to make up for the losses, like Wijnaldum as a midfielder, are a symptom for that.
The lack of alternatives forward, which got even worse with Diogo Jota´s injury plus Takumi Minamino´s loan have resulted in excessive minutes for Mané, Firmino and Salah. In fact, it is not a secreat that their level has considerably decreased. Alexander-Arnold´s as well, the ‘Reds’ playmaker and one of the main pillars, has reduced his contributions to the team. This has mostly to do with Henderson´s absence in the midfield. The Englishman offered runs constantly, which opened up for spaces in the wings that the fullback used to take advantage of.
The loss to Chelsea has been an important blow for Klopp´s squad. Manchester City have the title in their hands, so the battle to make it to the Champions League is now the only goal in the Premier League for Liverpool. The ‘Reds’ are four points away from the 4th spot, but their trend is lousy and they could still complicate their situation even more.
Fans expect that the signs can change the direction: Thiago is not playing at his best level and Ozan Kabak just joined the squad in order to add consistency to the defense. Jota already got some minutes against the ‘Blues’, so people expect to see again excellent performances by him. The Premier League is a long-distance race, but Liverpool are running it with an extra 20 Kg weight on their back. We will see if they manage to save the season.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.