Given the Reds’ inability to ‘win ugly’ at times this season, their frailty against so-called weaker opposition and, clearly, the absence of a key trio in Jordan Henderson, Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana, Liverpool’s 1-0 win at West Brom last time out was a real marker that this now is a team with real ambition.
Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Stoke City was an important victory for many reasons. It consolidated our grip on a Champions League place – we’re six points clear of Manchester United now, ended that ‘bottom half hoodoo’ which governs that the Reds tend to struggle against so-called weaker opposition, and it was a game that also got a reaction from Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino.
It is clearly apparent that Liverpool have a problem seeing off sides from the wrong end of the Premier League table. How else can we explain two more dropped points, this time on home soil against Bournemouth in midweek?
In any sport, if you can bring your best to the big occasion then you are going to do very well for yourself, no doubt about it. Being able to live with the pressure of the spotlight and still deliver is a very worthy attribute to have indeed.
The international break is a source of much worry and consternation for club managers: ‘will my players return unharmed?’ is the general cause for such anxiety.
The unpredictability of Liverpool FC continues. After claiming wins against Arsenal and Tottenham, but losing to Leicester and Hull in emphatic fashion, in the past month alone, it is hard to say with any certainty exactly how the Reds are playing at the moment. They are lurching from glory to disaster and back again at a rate of knots.
When previewing the Arsenal game we suggested that Liverpool could not play as badly as they had against Leicester again, and happily we were proven correct.
If ever a team was set up to play into their opponents’ hands then it was Liverpool against Leicester on Monday night. Why Jurgen Klopp decided to implement a high defensive line against an outfit containing the guile of Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez, plus the pace of Jamie Vardy, is anybody’s guess. The 1-3 scoreline speaks for itself.
If the international break or FA Cup is annoyance for punters, then lord knows how it must feel for players on a crest of a wave.
The Liverpool boys must have been raring to go again after their outstanding 2-0 triumph over Tottenham, and yet it will have been more than a fortnight since they last took to the field by the time Monday night’s encounter with Leicester City comes around.
But that gives injuries time to heal, weary legs a chance to rest, and we can expect a high intensity Liverpool side to really take the game to beleaguered Leicester.
When does a downturn become a crisis? It would be easy to get carried away at this point with Liverpool’s poor form, but the point remains that they are yet to win a game in 2017. This was not the start to the year that anybody craved.