Liverpool will need their star players to finish strong for them to win the respectable 2nd place.
The Reds aren’t exactly having their dream season. A windless streak of five league games has crushed any hope of avoiding another trophy-less campaign after losing the semi-final in the League Cup to Southampton and more or less “forfeiting” the FA Cup to Championship struggles Wolverhampton by fielding a weaker side.
When you compare their respective Liverpool tenures on paper, Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp are hardly any different. Rodger’s biggest success at the helm of the club was actually the biggest title challenge from the formation of the Premier League in 92 as The Reds only lost out in the final two fixtures when they historically let a 3:0 lead slip at the hands of the inspired Crystal Palace side, handing Manchester City their most recent Premier League title.
This year round, Jurgen Klopp looks very likely to repeat the success. Albeit it will not be in terms of giving a proper go at the much desired Premier League trophy, but to the second-best finish that Brandan Rodgers’ team in 2014 led by Luis Suarez was able to achieve.
The prospect of winning the, given the circumstances, respectable second placed finish is well withing Liverpool’s reach. The fantastic record of Klopp against the rest of the top four contenders has made up for the incredible profligacy against the weaker sides and now Liverpool find themselves in a position where they are in absolute control of their own fate.
The battles against top 6 teams are well behind them this season after the 1:1 draw away at Manchester City. Liverpool dominated the battles against the top 6 teams by miraculously avoiding defeat in all 10 games, which gives them room for hope that this season will be considered a success by some after all. The nine fixtures that remain in Klopp’s calendar are as follows: Everton(H), Bournemouth(H), Stoke City(A), WBA(A), Crystal Palace(H), Watford(A), Southampton(H), West Ham(A) and Middlesbrough(H).
There are no easy games in the Premier League, but there are difficult games and there are less difficult ones. What also goes in Liverpool’s favor is the fact that the rest of the top 6 teams are bound to meet each other by the end of the season at least twice.
Manchester City were knocked out of the Champions League earlier than expected, but the fixture congestion is still a problem for Pep Guardiola’s side. They have at least one more match to play in the FA Cup as they will face Arsenal before traveling home to host local rivals United in what could possibly be their season-defining game. On the other hand, United, who are well behind on both the title and the top four, will need to play against Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal while also competing to win the Europa League. With the EL within reach, Mourinho has somewhat stated that the focus has already been turned to Europe’s second most prestigeous tournament, making a top 2, top 3 or even a top 4 finish a lot less probable.
Tottenham seem to be Liverpool’s biggest contenders for the No.2 spot. After the club’s disappointing European exits, Mauricio Pochetinno will strive to make amends for his team’s failures with a top 2 finish, but considering he’ll have the FA Cup in sight, which is also a “way out” for him and his players, and the terrifying remaining fixtures against Arsenal, Leicester and United, it’s definitely a long shot.
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