We don’t need to remind Liverpool FC fans that this season’s campaign hasn’t gone quite to plan. While there was a time early in the season when the Mighty Reds could dream of back-to-back titles, in the end, the wheels came off. The question now is whether the wheels can be put back on.
The players, Klopp, the fans, and everyone at the club will be hoping they can, but, to be realistic, it’s possible that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end. What will it take for the glory days to come back? Let’s take a look.
Freshen Up The Team
Liverpool’s spectacular form over the past years was in part down to the cohesiveness of the team. The starting eleven more or less picked themselves, and then, of course, there were some fantastic players who could come off the bench and have an impact. But it’s possible that things need to be shaken up now. Players who were once obvious starters may need to make way for fresh talent. When Salah, Firmino, and Mane are in form, the experts that make football predictions will always back Liverpool to win. But the front three aren’t shining quite as brightly as they did in the past. While things may swing back around, can Liverpool afford to risk another substandard season next year? It may be better to offload one or two of the front three now and rebuild with a new attacking trio.
Klopp: In Unchartered Territory
It’s not just the players that need to step up. Klopp does too. For the first four years of his tenure, Klopp was a force of nature, the alpha leader that was charging his boys to glory. But it’s one thing to climb the mountain and another thing to set up base and ward off all incoming attacks. The German was a genius at galvanising the team to get the league title. Whether he’s as good as retaining titles is another matter.
The fact is that Klopp hasn’t been in this position before. He’s won more than one title with a club before — with Borussia Dortmund in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons — but he’s never sunk to the bottom after a league title and then resurfaced with glory later on. So as much as anyone else, this is a test for Klopp. Of course, he needs help from his existing players and the board, and the fans. But he’s in a bind that he has to figure out on his own, to a degree. There is zero shame in failing to win consecutive titles; he’ll be a legend even if he quits tomorrow.
Finding Their Luck
You can’t rely on luck to win you championships. But anyone who says it’s not a factor is lying. In this season alone, it’s been a factor. The long-term injuries, the ridiculous VAR decisions; these things count for something. Of course, sometimes you have to make your own luck. Liverpool did that in the past. Now that our heads are down, we’re not getting the rub of the green in quite the same way. But the good thing about luck is that it can be back with you in no time.
Remembering Who They Play For
Watch footage of Liverpool blitzing their way to the league title last year, and you’d think you were watching a different team. The energy, the passion, the audacity, the things that win titles, essentially. They’re all gone now. If Liverpool are going to recover from this major slump, they’ll have to remember who they are and who they play for and that will hopefully come with the return of fans to Anfield.
It’s not panic stations just yet. Guardiola had a bad campaign with Manchester City and turned it around. Klopp — and his players — are good enough to do the same. This season is a write-off, sure. And one we’ll all forget once the final ball of the season has been kicked. But next year…dare we say it: could it be our year?