London, Madrid (19/2 – 50)
It seems that the 2022-2023 season is not going according to Liverpool’s plan. Liverpool is struggling with losses and the Champions League may be able to save their season.
As the team that fought for the title in the Premier League in the last four years, Jurgen Klopp’s men are now nearly impossible to win the league. The sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich in the summer turned out to be a mistake. Liverpool cannot replace the Senegalese or has yet to find an effective way of playing without their former winger.
Since the beginning of the season, Liverpool has suffered many minor results. They can not win against Fulham and Crystal Palace in the first two Premier League games. The Reds even lost to fellow strugglers, Manchester United, in the third game.
It is worth noting that, unlike Liverpool, Manchester United manages to bounce back from their difficulties. Since mid-November, Manchester United has suffered only one defeat in 11 Premier League games.
On the other hand, Liverpool continues to struggle. Another defeat at the hands of Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Wolverhampton Wanderers put Liverpool in a bad position. Liverpool is now occupied 8th place in the Premier League table. They only have 35 points from 22 games.
At the top of the table, Arsenal already has 54 points, 19 more than the Reds. Mathematically, Mohamed Salah and co. can still win the league. But it would be something of a miracle considering the pace that Arsenal, Manchester City, and Manchester United are doing.
It is safe to say that Liverpool is no longer a candidate for the Premier League title. Liverpool is also out of domestic cup competitions, as they crashed in the fourth round of both the FA Cup and League Cup. The Champions League is now the only trophy that Liverpool could win, this is their only chance to save their season.
Curiously, Liverpool performs much better in the top-tier European club competition. After a 1-4 defeat at the hands of Napoli in the first game, Liverpool sweeps the next five games to finish as runner-up of Group A. In the round of 16, Liverpool faces the defending champion and the best team in the Champions League which, recently also became the best team in the world, Real Madrid.
“Real’s European record is the best around,” said Klopp. “We know this. But we also know that ours is not too bad. On top of this, we know that we have Anfield and everyone knows what this means.” It’s not an easy task.
Real Madrid has been a thorn in Klopp’s side for decades in the Champions League. Since beating them in the semi-finals of the competition with Borussia Dortmund in the 2012/13 season, Klopp has lost two quarter-final ties against the Spanish giants and two finals in Kyiv and Paris.
Liverpool fans should prepare for the worst. If that happened, Liverpool would then have to rescue their season by qualifying for next season’s Champions League. This one is a more realistic target for the 19-time English champion.
Liverpool only has a 7-point deficit from Tottenham Hotspur, who occupy 4th place in the Premier League table. While the Spurs have already played 24 games, the Reds have two games in hand so they have a genuine chance to catch up.
Unlike the top-three teams, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United, Fulham, and Brighton & Hove Albion are not so consistent. They also do not have the level of resources as good as Liverpool in terms of quality players, tradition, and experience. With that calculation, Liverpool should be able to make the 2022-2023 season, not a total bust.
Martin Rino (631)