After a historic last season when Liverpool finally managed to put an end to their 30-year drought for the League title, expectations were massive from the Reds this time out. With the squad they have and in the fashion, they cruised their way to the Premier League title last season. They were once again touted as favourites for the biggest silverware in English football this time out at the start of the season. In reality, things have been utterly disappointing for the Reds this campaign. They have really failed to make an impression.
As of now, the Merseyside giants find themselves sixth in the Premier League table. They may well miss out on a Champions League spot for the next campaign. So, what has gone wrong for the Reds who were so dominant during the last season? In this article, we will try to analyze the reasons.
The injury crisis that Liverpool have suffered
Liverpool has been by far the worst-hit club in terms of injuries this campaign. Most of their key players have struggled with injury problems. The department that has been affected the most is defence. Their three senior defenders Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have all missed major parts of the season. Any of them are unlikely to recover before the season ends.
Jurgen Klopp has a pretty deep midfield at Anfield. However, even in that department, the club has struggled with injury problems. Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho and James Milner have all been on the treatment table. While Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have always been susceptible to injuries. With games coming thick and fast due to the season being cut short due to Coronavirus and players struggling for fitness, this has been a really difficult season for Klopp.
Inconsistency of the forward line
In the last few years, Liverpool garnered a reputation for being a really strong attacking outfit. Their sensational attacking trio comprising of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino has been integral in the club’s way to success. The three superstars share unique chemistry among them. It seemed almost impossible to stop them on most occasions. However, this season, the magic has faded to a great extent. They have just not looked themselves anymore.
While Salah has 25 goals in all competitions to his name, he has been fairly inconsistent. On the other hand, Firmino and Mane have both struggled for consistency this season and have just six and twelve goals to their names respectively across all competitions. New signing Diogo Jota has been excellent when he has been fit but the Portuguese missing almost three months with injury has been a major blow to Liverpool’s ambitions.
Jurgen Klopp’s poor judgement in the summer
When Liverpool parted ways with Dejan Lovren this summer, they did not sign an immediate and direct replacement of the Croatian international. That was a poor piece of judgement made by Jurgen Klopp. With the season starting late, it was always understood that fixture congestion would be an issue throughout the whole campaign. Liverpool, who were expected to compete for every single piece of silverware, could not afford to make the mistake of going into the new season with just three senior central defenders.
Especially considering the injury records of both Matip and Gomez, it was always a disaster bound to happen. Van Dijk’s injury has made the situation a lot worse. Jurgen Klopp is arguably the best manager in the world right now. However, sometimes even the best can make a wrong move. That was exactly the case with the German this time out.
(Author name- Snehanjan Banerjee)