It’s no secret that Liverpool have been fighting an uphill battle so far this season.
In the past few months alone, Jürgen Klopp’s squad have given away what can only be described as embarrassing losses to the likes of Southampton (two one-goal defeats in January), Hull City (2-0 in February) and Swansea City (2-3, also in January), leading to widespread criticism right across the board.
Two Much Needed Wins
Still, this is Liverpool we’re talking about here, a club that have bounced back from far worse in the past and gone to redeem themselves in the eyes of the club’s most ardent naysayers.
Such was the case this past weekend, when Klopp’s men, captained by Jordan Henderson, battled their way to what Klopp himself referred to as an “ugly” 2-1 win over Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
The victory was the club’s second in a row, having rolled on to a valiant 3-1 win over Arsenal on March 4th, making this only the first time so far in 2017 that the club have enjoyed back to back victories.
Yet whilst Georginio Wijnaldum’s last-minute, first half equaliser, and Emre Can’s second-half effort were just about enough to give Liverpool the two points, not everyone is certain that it was quite enough to help the squad guarantee a shift in momentum.
More Work Needed to Shake Off The Embarrassment
Whilst fans continue to rally around the club in their bid to retain a top four place throughout the season (something some say is about the best they can hope for at this stage in the game), and while Klopp himself has been more than open and honest in speaking to members of the press about the challenges he and his men face on the pitch, they’re going to have to do a lot more, and put up much more of a convincing effort, if they’re to shake off the embarrassment of losing to smaller clubs like Wolves and Southampton which has so far plagued them this season.
Not that it’s going to be easy. This website offers members football betting odds for tomorrow’s matches currently lists Man City as favourites when they host Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium on March 19th, whilst even a victory by local rivals Everton will guarantee punters a greater windfall when the two sides clash in the Liverpool derby on April 1st.
Such odds are just a reflection of how far Liverpool’s stock has fallen in the eyes of football pundits and arm-chair managers alike, but to count out the Anfield Army at this stage would be to do a disservice to a club who still have every opportunity to turn things around.
A Return to Form?
As the aforementioned post-match comments from Klopp attest to, Liverpool are at least aware of their shortcomings, and that awareness can – if channeled correctly – allow the team to address their difficulties and put forward a more convincing effort in the last few months of the season.
This means not only holding their own against top flight clubs like Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea (currently the three teams ahead of Liverpool in the league table) but also ridding themselves of the curse that seems to befell them when they meet teams from the bottom half of the Premier League table.
In April, the team are set to face off against Bournemouth, Stoke City, West Brom, and Crystal Palace, teams which in normal circumstances would be straight forward victories for Liverpool.
Given their recent form however, such games -though not necessarily straightforward- are vital for the team for two reasons:
1) Wins in these games are essential for maintaining their top four spot
2) A solid form against Bournemouth, Stoke City and the like will help prove to naysayers that their recent two-wins-from-two-games run is certainly no fluke, and that that the Liverpool of old are finally back on form.