Liverpool’s march to the Premier League crown is almost complete, but their dreams of defending their Champions League title from last season are over following the defeat to Atletico Madrid. Marcos Llorente’s brace along with Alvaro Morata’s late strike dumped the holders out of the competition at Anfield, albeit backup keeper Adrian played a decisive role in the Reds’ exit.
The Spaniard endured a nightmare performance, echoing shades of Loris Karius’ shocking performance in the 2018 Champions League final. Alisson’s injury loomed large in the contest – perhaps costing Jurgen Klopp’s men another run at European glory. Although Liverpool were undone by the errors of Adrian, there have been chinks appearing in their armour. Watford denied the Reds the chance to match Arsenal’s Invincibles in their 3-0 triumph at Vicarage Road.
The matches coming in the final nine games of the season may see further upsets, therefore tracking Liverpool’s opponents at Betzcenter to find the best odds could be worthwhile for bettors for a potential profit on a punt. Their recent losses have proved that the Reds are not infallible as Klopp’s men also crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Chelsea. It seems that the high-intensity approach that Liverpool have adopted and had great success under Klopp may finally be telling on the tiring limbs of his squad.
The potent attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have played more or less every game this term. Liverpool have been fortunate that all three have been available throughout the season and have not succumbed to a long-term injury. Firmino has struggled for form at Anfield, only netting his first goal of the season on home soil in the loss to Atletico.
Salah has once again been outstanding over the course of the term, although his form has been hit and miss since the turn of the year. He was largely ineffectual against Atletico, struggling to make an impact from the right flank. Mane too has only scored five goals since the turn of the year. Liverpool do not score a large number of goals from the middle of the park and their reliance on their strikeforce may just have caught up with them in their hopes for another European crown.
Jordan Henderson has been captain fantastic for the Reds. His leadership and drive from the middle of the park have been a crucial element of their surge towards the Premier League. The England international has rarely left the pitch, but even he has been sidelined by a recent hamstring injury. Fabinho was not a worthy replacement, lacking the energy of his team-mate in the midfield. It proved to be the case against Watford and Chelsea where Klopp’s men missed the presence of the skipper. Even Virgil van Dijk has made a couple of errors of late after not putting a foot wrong since his move to Anfield.
It only takes a couple of bad moments to break up what could have been a season for the ages. Their inevitable Premier League win will still be a huge triumph for the club that has been starved of the top-flight crown for 30 years. However, their relative struggles of late in the FA Cup and Champions League may give Klopp food for thought ahead of the next campaign that he needs to cultivate further depth in his squad, especially in the final third, to ease the burden on his key men due to the high intensity that he demands of his players on a weekly basis.