At some point this season, Liverpool are going to have to stop feeling sorry for themselves.
Their recent form has been a well documented disaster. They’ve won just twice in their last nine Premier League matches, and that pair of victories over West Ham and Tottenham is fast beginning to seem like a false dawn.
A resounding defeat to Manchester City at Anfield compounded their misery, and while those on the outside have pointed to an injury crisis and natural psychological fatigue as causal factors behind their collapse, the excuses are beginning to wear thin.
All we can say with absolute certainty is that Liverpool haven’t been good enough, and they will have to get better if this season is to be remembered as anything other than a complete disaster.
They still have plenty to fight for, and the Reds head to Leicester on Saturday knowing the clash with Brendan Rodgers’ team will have serious implications on their two remaining goals for the season.
It’s a chance to get some momentum brewing ahead of their Champions League last 16 tie with RB Leipzig in Budapest. After City seemingly ended their title hopes at Anfield, the Champions League is their only real chance at silverware, and an incentive they cannot afford to lose this early on in the campaign.
More immediately pressing is the Reds’ bid to finish in this season’s top four, a key commercial goal for the club who do not want to be stuck in Europa League purgatory again. Their trip to Leicester – who sit three points ahead of them in third – brings the opportunity to put themselves in the driving seat.
Despite their stumbling form, they will go in with a degree of confidence, knowing they hold something of a hex over Rodgers’ side. They haven’t lost to Leicester since a League Cup meeting in 2017, winning six of the seven meetings since, and are yet to drop a point to the Foxes since Rodgers took the helm.
Leicester may feel they are due one, but as Jurgen Klopp hinted, they won’t be expecting anything against a Liverpool team who still carry a fear factor despite their recent lack of consistency and rhythm.
A big boost to Klopp is the availability of both Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, just in time to cover the absence of Fabinho, who has been ruled out with a minor muscle injury. It seems likely one of the new signings will join Jordan Henderson in the back line, while the midfield will consist of Georginio Wijnaldum and two of Thiago, Curtis Jones and James Milner, depending on who is available.
With each of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah in line to start, the options available to Klopp are strong enough that he can have no excuses for another stumble – certainly off the back of a six-day break.
Liverpool’s season, as poor as it has been, hasn’t hit crisis point yet. It’s a recoverable situation, provided they soon lift their heads out of the doldrums and prove to themselves that they won’t be defined by a dire few months.
If they are serious about their ambitions, though, they have to show they want it in Saturday’s early kick-off.