Liverpool broke the 30-year deadlock to lift the Premier League last season. Without a doubt, they were the best team in the league. With the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane up front, and Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson Becker at the back, Liverpool was the team to beat.
It feels strange how just six months of bad football (or just bad luck) can change the atmosphere all around. The Premier League champions are struggling in 6th position after amassing 40 points in 25 games this season.
They are 19 points behind the league leader Manchester City. This is a huge margin and we certainly don’t expect Jurgen Klopp and his men to cover that up in the remaining 13 games.
Leave the title, the Merseyside club is struggling to make it into the top four as well! Currently, they are five points off the 4th spot which is claimed by West Ham United with 45 points.
Why is Liverpool struggling?
There’s no single answer to this. There are a number of reasons why the champions are languishing at the 6th spot and we need to pay attention to all of those. Possibly, the biggest reason is injuries. Liverpool sold Dejan Lovren in the summer thinking that they have adequate cover at the back.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip all have missed a large chunk of the season due to injuries. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have to play as the centre-halves. Alisson, Diogo Jota, Thiago, Fabinho, Sadio Mane all have been out of a few games due to their injuries. All of this has unsettled the ever-constant XI which Jurgen Klopp was ready to play with almost every game.
Sir Alex on injury crisis in 2012
Winning the PL title is a tough challenge, defending it is even tougher. Who can be more knowledgeable about this than the great Sir Alex Ferguson?
The former Manchester United manager needs no introduction. He won it all at Manchester United and even defended his crown many times.
In 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson was in a similar spot in which Jurgen Klopp is in right now. Injuries to key players forced him to rethink his squad every time. In fact, his team lost a collected 1681 days to injuries.
Sir Alex said: “There have been some changes in the team from the one that started the season. You don’t envisage having quite so many injuries. Everyone was fresh at the start. We had been through a brilliant pre-season in the States with not one injury. Then you are hit with a little list. It doesn’t disrupt us to a great degree but it does unsettle the balance of the team. Sometimes we are having to rethink which team to play whereas when the team is in full flow you don’t need to worry.”
That season, Manchester United failed to defend their crown but it was only by margins. If you are a football fan, you would be aware of the “Aguero moment” in the last seconds of the game between Manchester City and QPR.
Yes, it was the same season Manchester United found many players on the physio table rather than on the field. Yet, they put a robust title defence. Can Jurgen Klopp pull out of a page from that book or is it too late now to expect anything from his team?