Liverpool has been one of the most dominant teams in all of Europe in the past three years. They seemed to have fully bought into the Klopp system, narrowly missing out to a Champions League trophy thanks to a mixture of unsure defending and terrible goal keeping. What followed was one of the most fascinating two year spell for any club. With Virgil Van Dijk and Alisson added in back to back windows, the defense became a core part of the team’s success. Players like Wjinaldum and Jordan Henderson continued to take huge leaps and the front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino was unplayable. Questions of whether Liverpool had it in them to lift another European trophy was put aside when Trent Alexander Arnold took a quick corner that was met by Divok Origi to complete an almost impossible come back against a Lionel Messi led Barcelona. Liverpool would end up beating Tottenham Hotspur in the first all English Champions League final since 2008 lifting their first since 2005 (6th total). What made their season more impressive was their energy level on all fronts. While they pushed for a European trophy they were also in what turned out to be a two man race for the English Premier league losing out in the last weeks to Manchester City. But as it is with Liverpool since Jurgen Klopp took over, they never took a step back. The press was as high as ever, the energy on attack never dropped and the team never looked discouraged. Liverpool ended up winning the league for the very first time in their history breaking multiple records on the way.
A few moments later…
Since the start of the 2020/21 season Liverpool has never looked at their very best. Super star defender Virgil Van Dijk went down and so did the rest of the team. In their defense, they have a few missing pieces. Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are all down for the season. The once prolific front three has failed to score a goal from open play at Anfield since the start of the year; as a matter of fact, Liverpool has scored just one goal at Anfield in 2021(a penalty). The Merseyside team has lost 6 consecutive games at home for the first time in their history and their last loss to Fulham, a team in a battle against relegation signifies that they have hit rock bottom. To further compound their defensive issues, the lack of creativity in the Liverpool midfield has been exposed and frankly, Firmino is not a striker.
It’s safe to say that any team without a formidable defense, a midfield that cannot create and an attack without a striker cannot really play at a high level but the most concerning part of their drop in form has nothing to do with that. A Liverpool team that thrives off facing adversity; a team that plays with swagger, freedom and the confidence to throw eleven men at you while pressing; a team that orchestrated one of the most memorable comebacks in football one year and a year later lifted the Premier league with a record number of games left to spare. That same team this year looks slow, unwilling and disinterested. Liverpool currently sit in 8th place, 3 points above Aston Villa who have two games in hand. There seems to be no quick fix to their current situation and at this point the question on everyone’s lips to Liverpool is, how low can you go?