Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool FC will have to work hard to pick up the pieces following their recent loss. The international break will give them ample time to get back on their feet for the April schedule.
A lethargic second half against Southampton gave away a 2-0 lead, leaving the Reds with a disappointing loss at the St. Mary’s. Both fans and Liverpool players were left with a bitter taste going into the international break, as that second half was hardly a testament to the quality they demonstrated after losing the League Cup final. Liverpool will have to press on to find that same quality that got them revenge in the league against Man City, and so passionately got Manchester United knocked out of Europe.
Of the Liverpool senior squad members, 16 players were called up for duty in this international period, which is the highest compared to the rest of Premier League teams. With only a few days in and games yet to have been played, the international curse that seems to favour Liverpool has struck again. This time, Belgians Divock Origi (hamstring) and Christian Benteke (knee issue) are both returning to Liverpool to assess their injuries.
For Jürgen Klopp and the rest of his players, they have taken advantage of the break in travelling to Tenerife. He has hailed the Spanish resort as ‘close to perfect,’ thanking the Liverpool management for sorting this opportunity. It offers a place for the squad to train as well as being a suitable location for players to unwind with their family who were also invited.
The manager has told LFC News that he has been speaking with some of the other players on duty to check up on them with their training and it has been positive. He will be hoping his men will be coming back to Merseyside fit and healthy.
Looking to the future, the Liverpool manager acknowledges they have an important month ahead of them and knows his squad can step up with the coming games.
‘We have a big squad so it’s good for us to have this many games in April. Everyone will be important. We have to really fight through this time,’ he told the Liverpool Echo. ‘There are no easy games. But if we are all together then you have seen how we can play.’
Liverpool sit 9th in the Premier League table, but it would be wrong to consider this season already written off. Getting to a League cup final, the quarter-finals in the Europa League and not being completely down and out in battling for a top four position is not a season in shambles.
Let’s consider the fact that Klopp and his staff came in after a good amount of games already played. We’ve already seen what an impact he’s had implementing his game on the players without a pre-season to hone their understanding of tactics. Statistics show their successful tackles have increased, with the teams average currently ahead of others in the league, currently at 23.1 per game. Let’s not count Liverpool’s chances out yet, something right is happening.
This may be yet another transitional period, however, there are still points to take in this inconsistent and surprising season. Where the margins are small and competing teams have had sub-par performances, you never know what can happen in the remaining eight games.
The first hurdle lies in the challenge against title-challengers Tottenham on the 2nd of April.