Paul Merson has a real warning for Liverpool over an ‘unthinkable’ outcome this season. The Reds are far from a sure-thing this time around.
Liverpool currently sit sixth in the Premier League table. That’s not exactly meeting expectations.
But then, it hasn’t been their fault. Injuries have completely decimated their squad, leaving Jurgen Klopp without his plans.
And if you’d said to Liverpool ‘okay, now go through a season without your three first-choice defenders’, you would have them down as maybe fourth.
You can easily argue that competing for top four in that situation is actually quite remarkable. Liverpool are only six points behind third-place Leicester City, despite the injury struggles.
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Still, there’s a very good chance that the Reds won’t qualify for the Champions League next season. And that, says Paul Merson, would be ‘unthinkable’ for Liverpool.
“I can’t explain how big it would be if Liverpool ended up not getting in the top four, it’s massive. Massive,” he said, per Sky Sports. “Liverpool can’t not be in the Champions League.
“People go over the years they might not have been in every year but this Liverpool team of the last two years have been, bar the last three months, unbelievable.
“To be out of the top four would be unthinkable. Unthinkable. They would’ve budgeted everything, everything about it – season tickets, everything.
“TV money from the Champions League, prize money for getting through the groups; it pays people’s wages. They’re not bottomless pits.”
What RTK has to say
Well, he is right. And it certainly was ‘unthinkable’ at the start of the season, when Liverpool will have set budgets etc.
We don’t think it would cripple the club, though. They’ll still have money, they’ll still attract players, and they can essentially guarantee a better season next year.
But there’s no question that it would hit hard and cost Liverpool millions. That’s just a fact.
So let’s look at the positive side. If Klopp can steer Liverpool into the Champions League from this position, he’s performed something of a miracle.
You shouldn’t be able to lose players like Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to season-ending injuries and still be in the top four clubs in England. And that’s before we mention long-term injuries to Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.
Yes, finishing outside the Champions League spots was unthinkable back in October. Right now, though, it should be unthinkable that Liverpool finish in them.
And yet, we fancy them to succeed.