It would be hard for the Reds to continue their outrageously successful playing style into another full season without some sort of interruption, never mind a season like the current one off the back of a whirlwind year for not just football but the world more generally. Whilst many are taking joy from seeing Liverpool fans and the club have a relative lack of success this season compared to the dominance they have shown in the last couple of seasons, it is hard to not have a little bit of sympathy for their situation. But just what has gone so wrong for Liverpool this season?
Of course, the impact of Covid has a widespread blanket effect on all clubs competing in the league and in European football. The lack of fans and crammed seasons are something that everyone has had to deal with and has negatively impacted the whole atmosphere of football but provided some great platforms for upsets and freak score lines. Unfortunately for Liverpool, they have been the giants falling in this underdog story. Whilst some would argue all teams are playing without fans, for some teams, the lack of fans has an immense impact. Anfield is known for its devoted fans and intimidating atmosphere, without this you lose an edge. The crammed season is another effect of Covid which has affected everyone but affects some more than others with teams at the top playing in more tournaments and having more crammed schedules. Add to this Liverpool’s high-energy playing style and you are bound to see why the players are going to run out of steam. Whilst the situation is general for everyone, it specifically affects some teams more than others.
When it comes to performing well within a season and gelling as a team, clubs want to avoid injuries to key players. When you gain an injury to one key player in a season it can cause an imbalance in the harmony of the team and impact them massively. But when you have injuries to multiple key players at the same time, you are always going to feel the effects of this. Unfortunately for Liverpool, they have been stricken by injuries: partly due to bad luck, partly due to crammed timetables (Klopp remains adamant at this being the issue). The likes of Van Dijk and Diogo Jota being out for considerable periods of time has greatly upset the harmony of the team and not allowed them to get a good bout of form going. On top of this, the injuries at the back for Liverpool have pushed their main driving forces in midfield into centre-back roles (Fabinho and Henderson), which has meant the infamous Klopp press falters with less energy in the midfield area. Without this the team is exposed and vulnerable, so for people predicting btts in a game, Liverpool is a safe bet purely due to their defensive frailties.
It’s only natural
For teams to win the league and compete at the top of the Premier League in this day and age they need everything that is happening to fall into the right place at the right time. This sees world-class form naturally align with lack of injuries and getting the luck of the bounce from late goals to penalty decisions. For Liverpool, who have been competing at the top for a few years now, they were always bound to run out of steam. The high-energy game they play has left the players both physically and mentally fatigued, which is being reflected in lackluster performances. It is only natural that these players have a dip in their performances at some point – teams can never sustain that level of skill and endeavor forever. One thing is for sure though, this Liverpool team will come back better and with more hunger than ever before to get that title back next year.
It can be hard to pinpoint exactly where teams falter year on year but with Liverpool this year it is quite clear they have pulled the short straw on a number of occasions. Whilst many will argue that you shouldn’t leave yourself in a position to draw short straws – and that’s a valid point – its worth considering how well this team has performed in the last couple of years and give them a bit of a break for underperforming this season. I have no doubt they will be back to the top of their game in the near future.