Liverpool are currently in training at Melwood after they completed what is being viewed as a mini preseason on the south coast of Spain at La Manga, the prime training venue for top international and national squads. England followers will remember the name of the resort well, as that was the location of Paul ‘Gazza ‘ Gascoigne’s devastation after hearing he would not be in the squad for the 1998 World Cup and more recently Leicester City’s players were asked to leave after causing trouble. It appears that Liverpool have managed to avoid any dispute and there is still much to focus on before the last game of the season on 21st of May.
Jurgen Klopp’s team have thirteen games remaining this season and Champions League qualification remains the crucial goal, yet improvement is the short term aim after a miserable run of games that saw The Reds lose to Southampton in the League Cup, lose to Swansea City and Hull City in the Premier League and get knocked out of the FA Cup by Wolves. Liverpool currently sit in fifth position and with just three points between them and Manchester City, the race for Champions League qualification is going to go down to the wire.
Change of mentality
Captain Jordan Henderson has already stated that the team is focused on achieving Klopp’s dream of fourteen consecutive victories and the win over Tottenham Hotspur was a step towards attaining that dream. Liverpool face Arsenal and Manchester City in March and they will both be desperate to claim all three points to boost their Champions League prospects. Yet although games against top six rivals are hugely important, Klopp’s record in these top of the table clashes is remarkably good and if the league was only made up of the top six, Liverpool would be three points clear at the top. It’s the upcoming games against the likes of Burnley, Crystal Palace and Watford that should be of more concern to Liverpool fans, as there is a sense that the team are not approaching these games with the right mentality. Liverpool’s next game is against champions Leicester City who are on a woeful run of form and those bitcoin betting on sports will find Liverpool at 1.60 for a win that would convince many that Liverpool have adopted a different attitude and are capable of dispatching those teams in the lower reaches of the Premier League.
Refresh the squad
There was defiantly a consensus that Liverpool tired during and after the Christmas period and a stretch of time without competitive football should enable the team to restore energy levels and be back to the devastating form we saw early in the campaign. There have been accusations from Dutch coach Raymond Verheijen that this slump in form was inevitable considering Klopp’s training methods and match tactics. These accusations of Klopp destroying players through overwork are rendered mute when you consider that Verheijen expressed the same opinion of Antonio Conte’s squad preparation and Chelsea seem to be doing very nicely sat atop the Premier League. Yet there is no doubt that players such as Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino appeared tired and coupled with a few untimely injuries the team suffered.
Now we can be hopeful that Liverpool’s trip to Spain will mean a change of attitude against smaller teams, injuries and tiredness are a thing of the past, certain players are ready to take the opportunity to prove they have a place in Klopp’s plans and a reinvigorated group of players can fire towards Champions League qualification and be in form for the challenges of next season.