Michael Mongie discusses what is required from Liverpool to compete for the Premier League title.
It’s well known just how good Liverpool is against the top sides in the league. Last season, saw memorable victories over Chelsea and Manchester City in the Premier League and Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.
Liverpool’s record against the smaller sides in the league, however, is scandalous. Defeats to Watford, Newcastle and Crystal Palace saw Liverpool drop 9 points in games where they really should have won.
Manchester City finished the 2015/16 season with 66 points and Liverpool ended with 60. Had Jürgen Klopp’s side picked up those 9 points, qualification for the Champions League would have been successful. Really puts it into perspective, doesn’t it?
Move on into the 2016/17 season and this annoying trend hasn’t been eradicated. Despite picking up 10 points from a possible 12 against Arsenal, Spurs, Leicester and Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s side lost 2-0 to Burnley.
Will those three points come to haunt Liverpool?
An interesting article by the lads from This is Anfield points out that Liverpool’s start to the current campaign is the best beginning to a Premier League season since the 2008/09 season when Liverpool finished 2nd in the league.
While this is encouraging, the reason Liverpool lost out to Manchester United that season is because of a failure to win against the league’s weaker teams.
The defeat to Burnley at Turf Moor suggests it’s an inability to break down teams who defend compactly and sit deep in their own half that frustrates Liverpool. Defeats to Watford and Newcastle last season, however, point to a level of indifference towards the smaller teams in the league.
In order for Liverpool to win the Premier League, after 26 years of continued disappointment, past mistakes need to be avoided. Near misses with the title in both the 2008/09 and 2013/14 season were a result of dropping points in games where it is inexcusable to do so.
Many comparisons can be drawn between the 2008/09 season and the 2013/14 season. In both campaigns, 4 more points would have seen the title come to Merseyside, although on goal difference in 2008/09.
In the 2013/14 season, defeat to Hull City and the many draws to Swansea, Aston Villa, Everton, Newcastle United and what is considered to have been the final nail in the coffin, the 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace, contributed to just missing out on the league title.
The main similarity between the two campaigns that saw Liverpool come the closest to the league is that there were a high number of draws in each. For teams of such a high calibre, like the 2008/09 team, 11 draws is absurd. That being said, the side only lost 2 games all season and only conceded 27 goals but the fact of the matter is if you want to win the league you cannot draw that many games.
Liverpool doesn’t have the same calibre of players that were on display in either the 2008/09 or the 2013/14 season. Klopp is relying on the teamwork and chemistry between his players to make up for what some would consider a gulf in class.
There are huge expectations for Liverpool’s current squad. Most don’t think that results will be yielded in the short term, but why not? As has been displayed against Leicester and Chelsea particularly, Klopp is creating a hugely exciting team and all that is required now to succeed is focus and consistency.
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