Inconsistent Liverpool Still Far From a Premier League Title
However, as great a match as it was last night, Liverpool’s performance showed just how far away they are from winning a Premier League title.
Liverpool fans may be waking up with sore throats this morning. Last night’s epic 4-3 comeback against Dortmund in the Europa League was one of the greatest games in Anfield history, as Dejan Lovren’s last gasp header sent the Kop into raptures.
Liverpool are, surely, now favorites for the trophy after being drawn to play Villarreal in the last four with the winner of Shakhtar Donetsk or Sevilla then awaiting in the final.
However, as great a match as it was last night, Liverpool’s performance showed just how far away they are from winning a Premier League title. In truth, Dortmund sliced open their flabby defence at every turn, their direct and fluid passing often proving too much for Liverpool to deal with. Their third goal came about from a simple through ball by Mats Hummels, allowed to charge into Liverpool’s midfield unopposed before Marco Reus caught Nathaniel Clyne woefully out of position.
Liverpool conceded another 3 goals last night, in a season where their defence has handed out gifts like it’s Christmas all year. Another 3 were offered to Arsenal in the league back in January. Another four away to Norwich in the same month.
It hasn’t been all bad, of course. Glimpses of promise were shown in the recent conquests of both Manchester sides, while they played Stoke off the park in their last League game. The trouble is, you wouldn’t be entirely shocked if Bournemouth pulled off a result against them this Sunday, such is the Anfield club’s erratic form.
What will it take, then, for Klopp to make this Liverpool side perform more consistently?
“We need a higher rhythm” he admitted in a recent press conference. Of course, that will come with time – it’s easy to forget that Klopp only joined Liverpool in October last year (his first job outside the Bundesliga), and it would be churlish to suggest that the team hasn’t improved since then, sitting as they do on the edge of the European places. It’ll take time for his philosophy to bed in, and a full pre-season with players he acquires in the summer will, fans are hoping, yield benefits in the longer term next season.
In terms of fixtures, Liverpool still have a game in hand, and a win would bring them within one point of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United in fifth. With City a further six points ahead, though, winning the Europa League outright remains their most realistic chance of securing a Champions League berth for next year.
That, of course, will have implications on the calibre of player that Klopp is able to attract in the summer. Recent reports have linked them with a move for German maestro Mario Gotze, who already has a great relationship with the coach who kick-started his career. A place at the footballing top table next year would make those negotiations run a whole lot smoother.
On balance, there is still a lot to be positive about for Liverpool fans. What is certain is that, after last night’s performance, it’ll be an entertaining watch.
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