Group E of the Champions League boils down to this all-or-nothing clash between Liverpool and Spartak Moscow at Anfield on Wednesday evening. Okay, so that billing isn’t quite accurate, but let’s be under no illusions: if Liverpool lose this game they are out of the Champions League.
As expected, Liverpool recorded a resounding 0-3 win at Stoke on Wednesday evening, although in truth the context of the game suggests an encounter that was rather closer than the scoreline suggests.
As Jurgen Klopp pointed out in his post-match press conference, it was always going to be difficult for Liverpool to overcome a Chelsea side packed with eight defence-minded players.
It’s hard to really digest the events of Tuesday evening in Sevilla, and quiet reflection is needed just to decide if the experience was a positive one or not.
In our preview of Saturday’s match, we suggested that Southampton’s negative approach would be tailormade for Liverpool, and so it proved with the Reds delivering a blistering display to run out 3-0 winners.
The international break is a huge annoyance for a number of reasons, and it is especially so when it arrives to halt the brilliant momentum that Liverpool were building just prior to the fortnight off.
The international break is a good time to take stock, look back at what has happened so far and see where we’re heading as the run-up to Christmas and the New Year intensifies.
For a while it appeared as though Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Maribor was going to be ‘one of those games’ yet again for Liverpool: we enjoyed a ridiculous 83% possession in the first half, but simply could not put the ball in the back of the net.
It is truly amazing how quickly the mood can change in football. With Liverpool seemingly lurching from disaster to disaster of late, the 3-0 win over Huddersfield was as timely a boost as Jurgen Klopp and his players could have hoped for.
The less said about last Sunday the better. We know, and accept, that Liverpool cannot go ninety minutes without compiling a horror-show of defensive calamities that would make all involved a few quid on You’ve Been Framed, but to do so as profoundly as they did at Wembley was rather galling.