Since the game against Everton in November when Virgil Van-Dijk was injured by the Everton goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, the chances of Liverpool retaining the title they finally won in 2020 after 30 years of wait diminished.
With the big Dutch in their rank, Liverpool looked unstoppable while they blazed aside all teams that came their way while they continued the blistering form that ensured that they won the league in emphatic fashion in the last campaign.
However, there is a change in story effects since the turn of the year as Liverpool were finding it difficult to hold the ground in the absence of their ever-present giant defender as they are yet to find a win in the fortress that was once a nightmare for the incoming opposition.
More so, going forward has been a major problem, despite the fact that Mohammed Salah is having a tremendous season with 17 Premier League goals to his name, the same cannot be said to the likes Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino who have formed a partnership that springs up fears in the heart of the opponents throughout the years. Even the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson who has managed to be the standard of the fullbacks in recent years have difficulty in holding their reputation as creative outlets or wing-backs.
With the defensive woes and attacking shyness, Liverpool had since fall out of grace for a team that was once considered to retain their title is now fighting against the odd, with +25000 odds on the sportsbook Bovada to lift the prestigious English football gong by may and Manchester United who had found their rhythm since the acquisition of Bruno Fernandes in January 2020 at +2000 odds.
Although the like of Tottenham Hotspurs is not far away and the rejuvenated Chelsea under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel is a major threat to the next season UEFA Champions League aspiration of the team that was once considered to be the best in the history of Premier League.
Rocked by injury as nearly all member of the high-flying Liverpool team has either been out or presently out with injury or isolated for the COVID-19 pandemic procedures and the high-flying acquisition, Diogo Jota who had been a revelation since his move away from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer is equally injured.
Could this be the beginning of the end of a sumptuous journey or is it a challenge that can be solved by the German tactician or could Liverpool’s place among the elite club questioned once again as they found it so difficult to climb back the elite ladder after so many years of absence?
Although the Citizens are looking to be the champion of the Premier League for the third time in four years and are running riot commanding their respect throughout the league once again after the turbulent start to the season and while the biggest prize looks assured heading for the Etihad Stadium once again, the battle for Champions League qualification is intensifying with every round of fixtures.
Currently, West Ham are a surprise occupant of the fourth and final Champions League spot right now, with nine points drifts’ David Moyes' high-flying team of the lukewarm Jose Mourinho’sTottenham down in ninth position.
Moreover, Manchester United and Leicester City who are both four points clear of West Ham United in second and third on the log respectively could still be dragged into the top four fight, as the race is really looking like six clubs slugging it out for one position.
With resurging Arsenal now surely too far off the pace in eleventh place on the log with 8 points behind the fourth-place team and the likes of Chelsea, Aston Villa and Everton will be looking to capitalize on the unusual season to advance their claim among the elite coming next campaign.
It thus set an even arduous mountain for the back-pedal rolling Liverpool’s team to climb on the long run.
Currently, Aston Villa is sitting in ninth position with 39 points with two games to spare, while the Merseyside neighbour of Liverpool, Everton are currently plotting a move to dethrone the Reds of their sixth position while having a game in hand and occupying the seventh position while having the same point with the Anfieldsupremo.
While they fell apart on their way to secure their second Champions League spot in six years, Leicester City just only had themselves to blame after their last-ditch in the hand of Manchester United as they were defeated in their backyard leaving them behind Man United and Chelsea in the third and final spot for the UEFA Champions League in last campaign but they may well be on the verge on making their claim more fastidious this time around which might leave only one spot for like six teams to battle for the Champions League last spot in the league with Chelsea, West Ham, Aston Villa, Everton Arsenal and of course Liverpool racing for the last option.
Although, even without a Champions League spot, Aston Villa season will be considered a very huge success, considering their place on the table in last campaign while they struggle to retain their Premier League chance and currently sitting ahead of Arsenal, despite their herald of stars while having two games to spare and winning their two remaining games will only make them leapfrog Liverpool on the log.
Also, like Aston Villa who narrowly escaped relegation in the previous campaign, Everton equally had a very hard season in the previous campaign but their current position and the way they play might be a sign of things yet to come and although they would be relishing their chances among the best clubs next season and that can only materialize if they secure the last champions league spot which they have dreaming to achieve for a long time.
More so, David Moyes would have loved to take Everton to Champions League while Toffees secure their champions League playoff with Moyes in 2004/2005 while staying ahead of Liverpool who could only qualify through their Champions League victory in that campaign and while Moyes is looking to capitalize on familiar circumstances which only left the Toffees to the then UEFA cup after they were beaten by Villareal on their way to the group stage.
Although, finishing fourth with West Ham would finally relieve David Moyes of the sixteen years' pain and the highflying David Moyes West Ham would look to muster their first champions league appearance under the guidance of the Scots.
Another big challenge for Liverpool on their way is Chelsea, who have finally rediscovered their mojo under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel and they are currently flying high in the league while they kept getting the result needed and conceding fewer goals on the run.
Although Spurs and Arsenal are another contenders to the last spot on the UEFA Champion League’s top four spot, the inconsistency of Jose Mourinho’s team might pose enough threat for Anfield’s team while the resurging Arsenal still have a very long way to go despite having six points difference with Liverpool.
Even, the former Reds star, Peter Crouch in his outstanding disappointment shared his view on Liverpool’s current situation while he was talking to daily that “They have been well off the pace recently but, to be honest, I’ve thought back to the start of the season and there were warning signs then. “I just feel there has been a big drop and the balance of the team has completely gone.
No Virgil van Dijk has led to no Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield; those two players provide so much and without them orchestrating things, Liverpool have lost their way.
“This is not something I ever expected to write up but they really do have it all to do if they want to finish in the top four. I don’t want to look at the derby, though, without giving Everton due credit because they played really well.”
However, Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp have a beast with their belief in their mind and while they may well have suffered, due to injury to their key players, they may well be on course to qualify for the European elite club competition next campaign but they will need beyond playing to their strength and beginning to look for the opponent weakness as Liverpool only play to their strength.
Also while others are doing well and grinding out the result needed to be among the elite next campaign, Liverpool have been having difficulties in their backyard but for them to qualify Club must make his general belief once again as they need to re-invent their belief and fastidious attribute need to be on the high once again and without that, Liverpool might just be playing the second-tier European club competition come next season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 1 year ago