As the Premier League closes in on the final third of the season, Liverpool are sitting pretty in 3rd place – 3 points behind Manchester United and 18 behind runaway leaders Manchester City. Of the remaining 13 games od the season, Liverpool face only 4 team in the too half of the table and play 2 of the bottom 3 teams. In theory , Jurgen Klopp’s team should be on track to secure the runner up position but as the Reds have proven, playing bottom half opposition isn’t always that easy.
Goals from Emre Can, Robert Firmino and Mo Salah secured a 3-0 victory at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, a much desired win after back to back defeats. Elsewhere in the Premier League, Chelsea suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat at home to the revitalised Bournemouth whilst Man United crumbled at the hands of Tottenham. A Christian Eriksen goal in just over 10 seconds plus a Phil Jones own goal secured the 2-0 win for Spurs, who are next up on Liverpool’s fixture list.
Both Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte seem to be piling the pressure upon themselves. Chelsea raised eyebrows in their search for a striker over January, and the United players look to be losing respect for their manager. Marouane Fellaini is the latest victim of Mourinho’s recent history of ‘odd ‘managerial decisions, the Belgian was brought on in the second half of the Spurs game and taken back off after 5 minutes for reasons unknown.
The apparent demise of Man United and last year’s Champions Chelsea leaves the gate open for Liverpool and Spurs to have a head to head in the race for 2nd, and with the teams meeting this Sunday, it has become a pivotal game in shaping the rest of the season. Liverpool currently have a 2 point advantage over Spurs in 4th, so a home win on Sunday would put them in great position to finish the season strong.
As it has been for Liverpool in the last few years though, domestic success depends on their ability to consistently produces the top class performances that fans have become a custom to.
Everybody knows and fears Liverpool’s frontline, and even without the departed Philippe Coutinho the team still put 4 past Man City. Though again we find ourselves rumbling over the slack back line of Klopps team. The pricey arrival of Dutchman Virgil van Dijk should and already has begun to solidly the leaky Liverpool defence and as he blends into the team it will only become stronger.
If Klopp can hold out for 2nd place it will be regarded as a success, given the sheer quality of this season’s Man City side. Consistency is the long missing piece in Liverpool jigsaw, who stand before what could be deemed a kindly hurdled home straight of the Premier League season.