AT the start of the season, the fixture between Manchester City and Liverpool in April would have been one that many would have predicted as a potential title decider.
However, while one side – City – have lived up to their pre-season hype and are still challenging for the title; Liverpool, apart from the odd game, have been disappointing.
After a season where Liverpool were only two games away from creating history and winning the quadruple, the Reds will finish this campaign trophyless and face an uphill battle to finish in the top four. Whether Jurgen Klopp’s side qualifies for next season’s Champions League or not could depend on their results over the next week.
After facing City at the Etihad, Liverpool then travel to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night to take on a resurgent Chelsea team before finishing a tough fixture run against the league leaders Arsenal at Anfield.
It’s not unthinkable that Liverpool will lose all three fixtures and were that to happen, there is little chance they will be playing in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Even the most loyal Liverpool fan must admit that they are disappointed with their side this season. Yes, there have been some good days for the team, most notably their 7-0 demolition of Manchester United, but one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and overall the Reds season has been a failure.
So who or what is to blame for the Reds’ poor campaign? I have to question the player’s mentality. Is it strong enough?
They began the season poorly which suggests they weren’t able to get over the disappointment of last year quickly enough.
They also have one of the worst away records in the division having only gained 12 points from a possible 39.
To put into context how poor Liverpool have been away from Anfield, Klopp’s men are below bottom club Southampton when it comes to away points won.
Liverpool’s poor away form does suggest that the players’ have been weak mentally this season.
Of course, it’s more difficult playing away from home. Players are travelling the country, staying in an unfamiliar environment in a hotel rather than the comfort of their home, and when things get tough in a game, the majority of supporters increase the pressure on the players.
Liverpool fans will use the excuse that this season is a one-off and that with the right recruitment in the summer, the club will be back competing for the league title again.
It’s no secret that the Reds’ midfield needs strengthening and hopes have been pinned on Liverpool bringing Jude Bellingham to Merseyside.
However, John Henry has been an advocate of reduced spending by Premier League clubs, and if it comes to a bidding war for the English star, it’s unlikely Liverpool would come out on top.
Midfield is not the only area the Reds need strengthening. As much as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been key to Liverpool’s success in the past, those players are now becoming liabilities.
Opposition teams have identified that both players are slow with their recovering runs when the Reds lose possession and teams are exploiting the space left in Liverpool’s defensive flanks. I’m tired of people making excuses for Trent.
Based on his performances this season, Trent shouldn’t be anywhere near the conversation of the top right-backs in the division, yet people continue to talk him up. As a defender, he doesn’t sense danger.
He’s not a player you want in your side when you are going through a difficult period. Liverpool will need finance to fund the transfer of Bellingham and if I were Liverpool I would try to cash in on Trent because his stock and valuation will drop overtime because people will start to criticise him more.
However, this summer they should be able to get a hefty fee for the right-back.
Because of their history, Liverpool will always be able to attract the top players whether they are in the Champions League or not. However, the problem with missing out on Europe’s elite competition is that it is unlikely the Reds will have the finance to sign the best players.