What a terrible 2017 it’s been for Liverpool. With just one league victory, this year has seen the reds drop down to 5th place in the league table. Their humiliating loss at the hands of Leicester city further rubbed salt on their wounds. Their title challenge is effectively over and if results don’t get better soon, they could soon find themselves out of the race for champions league places. After they lost both their fixtures in the EFL Cup and the FA cup, chances of winning a trophy, come the end of the season are also effectively over. But let’s take a moment and really analyse what’s gone wrong with Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Jurgen Klopp will probably be kicking himself for not taking the opportunity to strengthen his squad during the month of January. There were a lot of positions that needed reinforcement, especially in defense. But Klopp decided to stick with the squad he was left with and it has cost him dearly. Jordan Henderson has been ruled out with injury and his absence has been duly noted. Sadio Mane’s attacking prowess was dearly missed while he was away at the AFCON. Daniel Sturridge continues to remain sidelined with a recurring foot injury. Phillipe Coutinho has been uncharacteristically ineffective since his return from injury. Things are looking bleak for Jurgen Klopp and his red army.
Jurgen Klopp has been lauded throughout his career for his tactical genius. But the German boss has been prone to a few mistakes. Lucas Leiva was deployed as a center back against Leicester city on Monday. However things didn’t go according to plan as Jamie Vardy ran riot against the Liverpool defense. Several pundits were questioning Klopp’s tactics of deploying Lucas at center back, especially with Klavan sitting on the bench. Of the current teams in the top half, only West Ham and Stoke City have conceded more goals than Liverpool. This is a damning reminder that Liverpool have to sort out their defensive worries, and fast.
After their brilliant start to the season, many pundits and fans alike were brimming with excitement over the prospect that this might finally be Liverpool’s year. Liverpool remain undefeated against the top six with vital victories coming away at Stamford Bridge and the Emirates Stadium. But its their performances against the comparatively weaker teams that have been their Achilles heel. They have already lost to Sunderland, Hull City and Leicester this year. The smaller teams are beginning to figure out Liverpool’s tactics and the reds have been finding it extremely difficult to cope up with it.
Despite their poor lack of form, Liverpool have what it takes to return to winning ways. Klopp will be counting on the likes of Coutinho, Mane and Firminho to rejuvenate the squad and help them get out of this rut. The Liverpool board members have constantly stressed the importance of qualifying for next season’s champions league and failing to do so might mean huge implications for Klopp and his men. One thing is imminent. There will be plenty of changes to the Merseyside squad next season.