Despite starting the 2016/17 season as one of the top dogs and looking likely of finally challenging for silverware success, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have endured a horrendous start to 2017 with a miserable run of form in all competitions.
In just one week the Merseyside club saw their run in both the EFL Cup and FA Cup come to an abrupt end, as they were sent packing from the competitions by Southampton and Wolves respectively.
Those two cup exits also followed a shocking Premier League defeat at the hands of relegation-threatened Welsh outfit Swansea City, who managed to secure a surprising 3-2 victory at Anfield.
With a remarkable three consecutive losses on home soil, Liverpool have entered a mini-crisis early in the year after previously looking unstoppable domestically.
German coach Klopp had instilled a great sense of unity in his squad and many stars had begun the campaign strongly, including Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana. However, that has swiftly turned sour as his side suffer from a daunting decline in form across all fronts.
Klopp Under Immense Pressure
Having started the term in full throttle and looking capable of finally ending their wait for a Premier League crown, Klopp’s men have dropped well off the pace and now find themselves battling for a Champions League position, rather than silverware.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp is feeling the strain and has been a far-cry from his usual eccentric, positive self during matchdays in recent weeks. The German, like Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, may be finally realising that England offers a much tougher proposition than the likes of La Liga or the Bundesliga, with the supposedly lower ranked teams able to upset the odds on a regular basis.
For the Reds, it’s now time to recover and bounce back up the table, with cup success now out of the question following recent disappointing exits. The EFL Cup and FA Cup shocks will hurt the fans now, but in the grand scheme of things this season, those exits may actually benefit the Merseyside club in the long run.
With Chelsea running away with proceedings domestically and dominantly leading the Premier League betting at this stage of the term, Liverpool have a lot of ground to make up already. Meanwhile, they face stiff competition from rivals around them, including in-form Londoners Arsenal and Tottenham, a stuttering Man City and rejuvenated Manchester United.
Coutinho Deal to Boost Prospects
One silver lining in the midst of such a dreadful run for the club has been the new long-term deal agreed by Brazilian star Coutinho, with the Samba playmaker signing on at Anfield until the 2021/22 season. Such a deal also makes him Liverpool’s highest paid player at just 24 years of age, as he put an end to speculation linking him with a big-money move to Spain with La Liga giants Barcelona.
Former club captain Steven Gerrard recently claimed that Klopp must now build his team around Coutinho in order to enjoy success at Anfield. It could be wise advice from the former Kop icon, as Liverpool desperately need to find a spark to reignite their stuttering season before it escalates out of control.