The result at Old Trafford last week was not one we had hoped for. Manchester United were there for the taking and we were supposed to go there and beat them easily. With the way we have been playing since the turn of the year a win seemed certain. We had put ourselves in a position to overtake our rivals in the league and the neutrals had us down as favourites to finish as runners-up this season. That wasn’t what happened though. Instead we came out second best, losing our heads early and not being able to recover sufficiently to win the game. Not only was it a negative result for the fans but it also leaves us five points adrift of United in second place. So where do we go from here? With eight games left is there enough time to catch Jose Mourinho’s men? Or do we not have it in us to turn things around? The lads here at FoL Towers had their say…
Watford (H), Crystal Palace (A), Everton (A), Bournemouth (H), West Brom (A), Stoke City (H), Chelsea (A), Brighton (H). Seven very winnable games and one very tricky one. Don’t get me wrong, I think we can win all of those games. But there is one which worries me a lot. One which I fear more than most. SPOILER: It isn’t Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. No, the game I am talking about is the trip to Selhurst Park at the end of March.
We have a sketchy record at Crystal Palace, winning just twice there in the league since their promotion back to the top flight in 2013. Roy Hodgson’s side have not had the greatest of times lately and you can bet he will want to put one over his old side. Plus, they play the type of football we hate going up against and Wilfried Zaha, the best player outside of the top six, is now fit again. It all makes for a very anxious afternoon for Liverpool fans.
As I said though, these all winnable games and I don’t think the trip to Stamford Bridge will be as difficult as many people might think either. I fancy us to take eight from eight. Whether we finish above United though depends on their aptitude to take at least eighteen points from a possible twenty four. Can we finish second? I think it’s unlikely.
Firstly, the United game has been and gone. Let’s stop stewing over it; we’re still in an advantageous position with eight matches remaining and only one direct rival still to play. All going well, we could be assured of a top four finish by the time we visit Stamford Bridge on the first weekend of May, but our next two matches will offer a strong hint as to whether we can match or better last season’s fourth place.
Liverpool play twice before any of their competitors for the top four next take to the field in the Premier League. Six points from the Watford and Crystal Palace games would put us in a very commanding position, for even though the others will have games in hand, we’ll have points on the board and the gauntlet will have been thrown down to Spurs and Chelsea in particular – catch us if you can.
Should the Reds stumble in either, or both, of their remaining March fixtures, though, they will be left with a struggle to partake in next season’s Champions League via domestic position, as the likelihood then is that we’ll be relying on teams around us to slip-up, even though the meeting of Chelsea and Spurs on Easter Sunday will seCe at least one of those drop points.
Ultimately, the fixture list is kind enough to Liverpool so that they should finish no worse than fourth from here. If we contrive to balls it up on the run-in, having been in the top four for most of the campaign, it will be a wretched summer of recrimination. If we can get over the Champions League quarter-finals and the Merseyside derby still in a position of strength, though, I think we will be in Europe’s premier competition again next season. Second or third would be nice, of course, but let’s just make sure we’re in the Champions League group stage draw next August first of all.
Firstly we must get straight back on track with a performance and more importantly 3 points against Watford. Our destiny is still in our own hands and I back Klopp to have the players finish the league calendar as strong as possible to guarantee CL football again next season. We have shown now on a pretty much consistent basis that we can play teams off the park and long may that continue.
We now know we face Man city in the quarter finals of the CL and for us to progress we need to take a lead to the Etihad and score in the 2nd leg. Klopp has an excellent record against Pep Guardiola so he has the measure of him. I know Liverpool where not high on the list of “wanted” opponents for City so the game is going to be a nervy , energetic tie and one which I can`t wait to see.
2nd in the league is where I hope and expect we finish and a 6th CL trophy is not beyond the realms of possibility
Up The Tricky Reds YNWA