Liverpool v Middlesbrough Preview

It doesn’t get much bigger than this, the season’s closing weekend is approaching and nothing has been decided yet for Liverpool. Heading into the final game week three teams are still looking to secure themselves one of the two remaining places in the top four.

After all the work put into the thirty-seven games prior, everything comes down to the final day for Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal. For Liverpool, in particular, this is quite the jump. I can’t remember the last time they ended a league campaign with a game that mattered, let alone could define the entire season.

And even though Jurgen Klopp’s men probably couldn’t have hand-picked a better game to close the season with than already relegated Middlesbrough at home, there are still incredible nerves in the red half of Merseyside. We don’t really know whether that’s due to Liverpool’s stuttering record against the league’s lower sides. Or simply down to the fact that the Liverpool of the 21st century doesn’t like to do anything the easy way.

Jurgen Klopp has been adamant in the build-up to Sunday’s encounter that the match is not a cup final. I’ll bet my house, however, that the atmosphere around and inside Anfield will have everyone feeling like it is one. The whole place will be bouncing and the hope is that it will shake the Boro players to their knees.

In addition to the inevitable raucous crowd that will be cheering them over the finish line, Liverpool have many a reason to feel confident.

Fresh off the back of a 4-0 rout at the London Stadium last Sunday, spirits are high within the Liverpool camp. Indeed, many looked to the clash with West Ham as the final test for Jurgen Klopp’s side and it was one that they passed with flying colours. The Liverpool manager will be the first to tell you however that nothing is guaranteed yet.

Standing in the way of England’s greatest European side and their return to dining with the continent’s elite is Steve Agnew’s already relegated Middlesbrough. A Middlesbrough side that in their last six games has lost four, drawn one, and won one (the one win being a narrow 1-0 over Sunderland). A Middlesbrough side that a team vying to play with Europe’s elite should have no problems dispatching of

In terms of who’s available for Liverpool, it’s pretty much as you were. Roberto Firmino is fighting to be in contention for Sunday and just might make the bench. However, with his side playing so well without him last week, you get the feeling he wouldn’t have started even if he was one-hundred percent fit.

An unchanged line-up is what we’ll likely see from Jurgen Klopp on Sunday and that’s what most fans would hope for. His side finally looks like they can score for fun again and that’s exactly what they’ll need to make this game as stress-free as possible.

Fans will be nervous heading into this encounter but that may be quelled by taking a step back and realising the progress. If you had given any Liverpool fan the option pre-season to be needing three points against an already relegated side on the final day of the season to finish in the top four; I’m positive the vast majority would’ve taken it without a second thought. Having a similar attitude of confidence and contentment before and during Sunday’s clash will go a long way to getting the job done.