With the hunt for the league title now gone, and a top 4 place all but secured, Liverpool will be focusing the latter stages of the Champions League, and whoever lies next in wait will not wanting to be playing a Anfield in the next round. But how far can Liverpool go? Are they genuine contenders for Champion League glory?
If everything falls into place, Jurgen Klopp has one of the most dynamic, fluid and dangerous attacking line ups in the Champions League. Despite the sale of arguable their most unique player, Mo Salah is coring for fun and when Mane and Firmino hit top stride, there is very little defences can do to cope with them. But can they sustain these over 2 legged affairs with the very best sides in Europe?
Liverpool have shown far too often, in the biggest of games, that Klopp’s style does not win out on a consistent basis and there have been several times this season, including the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford this past weekend, when the team have failed to click and looked rather pedestrian and average. If a defence can unite to keep Salah and Mane under wraps, Liverpool over very little else with the midfield struggling to create. This may help them against the lower end of the Premier League sides, but on the biggest stage of them all, it will cost them. Their win against Porto in the Last 16 was very impressive but bigger, tough sides await and even the English teams they may face during their run can cause them problems.
When you add in the state of the Liverpool defence, even with the addition of Virgila Van Dijk, it doesn’t provide a very positive outlook. Yes, to give credit where it is due, Liverpool have reached the quarter final stage, and as they have proven in the past anything is possible at this stage, but watching Liverpool does not inspire you with confidence they can beat 3 better teams to lift the trophy.
Getting to the final will be the harder task than winning it…if they do reach the final and Salah, Mane and Firmino hit strides, they can trouble anyone and outscore any team. But beating one of the remaining teams over 2 legs, with a suspect defence and goalkeeper may be out of their reach. Is there a team remaining in the last 8 who you would expect Liverpool to beat? Perhaps not…Juventus have proven they have the defensive capability to keep Liverpool quiet, the remaining English sides would all fancy their chances over two legs and Real Madrid and Barcelona will relish playing against that back four at Anfield.
If Liverpool fans had a realistic head on their shoulders, they should recognise that a season ending in 3rd place in the league and having made the quarter finals of the champions League, is certainly an achievement in itself and certainly something to be proud of. Yes there is no silverware to cherish, but in a season when a club have sold their best player, and have had to contend with impressive Manchester teams, then that is no small achievement at all.