Whenever an important Premier League result comes around, it naturally always leads to a furore over what’s coming next. A massive win, for example, can help to spur on a big title challenge, whilst a loss may produce fears of relegation – dependent on the team’s current position, of course.
However, for Liverpool, it’s a draw that has left things looking a little bit uncertain. Of course, the Reds took on Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday in a game that was always going to be important. On top of the normal significance surrounding a game between two local rivals, Everton also had the chance to help stunt Liverpool’s title challenge.
In the end, a 0-0 draw was probably a fair result, but for Liverpool, that’s not what they needed. Indeed, to the contrary, by dropping two points, they’ve allowed Man City to take over the lead for the Premier League title, despite the Reds having led the way for much of the campaign.
Naturally, this will lead to claims of the Reds losing their bottle, just like Tottenham have been of late, and that argument, it must be said, does have some credence. There’s no way around it, Liverpool were in the driving seat, and in recent weeks, they’ve gone off course.
However, Liverpool fans must remain calm and focused, as the reality is though things have gone downhill in recent weeks, it’s hardly a case of now or never for Liverpool.
Sure, the Reds have been well placed to win the Premier League title this season, but the reality of the situation is that Liverpool are a team that’s improving – and improving rapidly. Jurgen Klopp is leading a long-term mission at Anfield, and the short-term success they are enjoying now was never in the plan. Realistically, Liverpool were never expected to improve as quickly as they have, and they certainly weren’t expected to be in the Champions League final last season or leading the title race this season. Most Liverpool fans would have bitten your hand off if you offered them their current situation two years ago – and so it’s important to put this into context.
Also important is to look at Liverpool’s squad. Jurgen Klopp is building a fantastic squad, and many of his core players are still improving. Between Alisson(26), Virgil van Dijk (27), Fabinho (25), Mo Salah (26) and Roberto Firmino (27), Liverpool have a group of players that are not yet, or are only just reaching, the peak periods of their careers – and so further improvement is still coming.
Let’s not forget, too, that Jurgen Klopp has been without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all season, whilst key first-team players like Joe Gomez have also been missing at points. Others, like Naby Keita, have been performing below par, and will likely improve in time. This hasn’t been a Liverpool team at the peak of its powers, make no mistake.
It’s also vitally important to recognise that Liverpool aren’t playing poorly or getting particularly bad results. They’re getting good results and they’re a brilliant team. Their problem, though, is that Man City are simply an unbelievable team that are beating records and building a dynasty. Any team in Europe at present would struggle to keep pace with them, and the fact that Liverpool have been able to move beyond them for weeks at a time is a testament to their quality.
It’s easy for Liverpool fans to be disappointed, and it’s even easier for rival fans to slam their recent form. However, the reality is that the best is yet to come for this brilliant team; and their critics will be made to eat their words – even if that doesn’t happen this season.