Liverpool were great champions but they need to stop making excuses for this season

Last season was so phenomenally brilliant for Liverpool that it will be etched into the memory banks for some time to come. But this season has seen the champions fall from grace in quick time. It can happen, we have seen it with Chelsea only a few seasons ago. But Liverpool have to stop with the excuses which are doing nothing but cheapen the club.

Liverpool have been the kings of Europe so to speak for the past 18 months, winning the league title and reaching 2 Champions League finals and winning one of those. A 60 odd unbeaten run at home followed. The incredible talents of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino up front were simply devastating, even scary. Their goals reigned supreme, here was a team who were built more like a machine- and then 2021 happened.

This has been the year to end Liverpool’s cycle, what a cycle it was, but it was short lived, of course at one point Liverpool will come back and will be a threat once more, but the fall off has been huge.

The club lost six games in a row at home, that is something that has actually never happened in the clubs 139 year history. A few of these defeats have been against teams you would have expected the club to beat in the likes of Brighton and Fulham. Liverpool even lost against derby rivals Everton at Anfield something that had not occurred since 1999.

Hopes of winning back to back titles were dashed within a month and suddenly Jurgen Klopp was wondering if his team were even going to finish in the top 4? Currently it’s possible that the Reds will not achieve that status and they could be playing in the Europa League next season as clubs such as Manchester United, Leicester and Chelsea have moved on. Liverpool also face stiff competition for places against Tottenham, West Ham and Everton.

The drop off has been huge and then the questions are inevitably asked as to why Liverpool have fallen out of form. Of course one could point to Virgil van Dijk’s injury earlier in the season, which has ruled him out of the majority of the season. But let’s not forget that van Dijk was part of the Liverpool team that lost 7-2 at Aston Villa, the signs were already there that Liverpool were going to struggle this season.

Mental fatigue has been thrown about and it has been accepted by many as a fine excuse. Yes Liverpool have been relentless in their pursuit of trophies and you can’t always win games. But the champions losing six in a row at home and probably finishing with 35 points less compared to the season before is just unthinkable.

The term mental fatigue is easy to throw around. But one has to look at other champions from the past to see what is happening in the present. Did Manchester United in their 20 years of dominance ever complain of mental fatigue? Sure United didn’t win the league every time in those 20 years and with 13 titles that was still an incredible achievement. But even when United failed to win the league, they remained a threat and they consistently qualified for the Champions League. There was no significant drop off not even in the mid 2000s when hundreds of millions was injected into Chelsea to make the Blues competitive. Soon after United won 3 league titles in a row and then beat Chelsea in the Champions League final in 2008.

Even Arsenal who remained in United’s shadow but still were a fantastic team did not drop off in their prime. If they were losing the title to United then they were finishing in 2nd place. One can look at Chelsea’s drop off in 2016 after winning the title in 2015 but that was more to do with manager Jose Mourinho losing the dressing room and the players going directionless as a result. Klopp has not lost any dressing room, so we can’t blame the manager and we shouldn’t be using mental fatigue as an excuse.

Perhaps quite simply the truth is that the players are not performing to their best. Maybe they are simply missing the famous stadium being filled up to the brim with fans and hearing the passionate Kop fans screaming their names and singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’. Then again how does that account for the fact that Liverpool have reached the quarter finals of the Champions League?

Surely if one is mentally fatigued then one is not even going to get out of their group stage? That isn’t the case and for whatever reason Liverpool have found a nice distraction from domestic football. Indeed if Liverpool were to reach the final that would be their 3rd in just four years, win it and much of this season could be glossed over.

As it stands excuses need to stop. Liverpool are where they are in the league because the players we expect to perform are having average to poor seasons and there is nothing wrong with admitting that. Liverpool could still finish 4th or win this seasons Champions League and have the last laugh, but the excuses need to stop.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 21

It’s been full steam ahead for the 2019 champions Manchester City who have emerged as the favourites to win the league title. City have won 26 points from their last 30 and at the weekend beat Sheffield United 1-0. City are 3 points clear at the top and have a game in hand.

Liverpool look back after their slump and have scored 6 goals in their last 2 games which were both away ones against Tottenham and West Ham. Tottenham’s league title hopes look dashed after losing back to back games and even the top 4 is in doubt now. Thomas Tuchel has started life with Chelsea with a draw against Wolves and a win over Burnley and Arsenal have gone seven league games unbeaten in their best period of form this season.

Let’s take a look below at the best 11 players of the Premier League over the past week, and you can check to see if any are in your side.

Goalkeeper: Damian Martinez- Aston Villa 7pts

Damian Martinez has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season and he earned another 7 points and his 10th clean sheet of the season as Aston Villa went to Southampton and won 1-0. The Saints had plenty of chances on goal and Martinez, as often this season, was there to protect his goal.

Defender: Cesar Azpilicueta- Chelsea 9pts

Not only did Cesar Azpilicueta keep a clean sheet as Chelsea beat Burnley 2-0 but he also scored one of the Blues’ goals. It was his 1st goal for the club this season and his value is 7m.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold- Liverpool 6pts

Trent Alexander-Arnold was secure at the back for Liverpool to earn another six points as the champions beat West Ham away from home 3-1 and he now has 25 points overall this season.

Defender: Marcos Alonso- Chelsea 9pts

Marcos Alonso had the perfect game for him as he kept a clean sheet his first of the season since he has only started 4 league games and he also scored the winning goal for Chelsea as they beat Burnley 2-0 at the weekend.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Ruben Dias has been one of the best defenders in the league so far and he collected another 5 points as Manchester City beat Sheffield United 1-0. It was Dias’ 12th clean sheet of the season so far.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 8pts

You just can’t keep him down and Mohamed Salah is back! Salah scored 2 goals at the weekend as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 and his 2nd one was superb. Salah is now the leading goalscorer in the Premier League with 15 goals so far.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane- Liverpool 6pts

Sadio Mane’s season has been slowly getting better after a sluggish start and he is becoming a staple player for Liverpool again. His influence has been shown in the last 2 games where Liverpool have beaten Tottenham and West Ham by the same score line of 3-1 and he has been able to earn another six points.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino- Liverpool 6pts

Roberto Firmino had to start from the bench against West Ham but the Brazilian still came off it to score a goal as Liverpool beat West Ham 3-1 at the weekend. Firmino has scored six goals so far this season.

Midfielder: Ross Barkley- Aston Villa 6pts

Ross Barkley was the difference yet again as Aston Villa secured a great 1-0 victory over Southampton and a very important one. Barkley got the only goal and he has 22 points overall now.

Striker: Patrick Bamford- Leeds United 8pts

Patrick Bamford turned it on at the weekend as Leeds stunned Leicester by beating them 3-1. Bamford assisted in Leeds opening goal, then scored the 2nd and then assisted again in the 3rd. He was probably the player of the weekend in the Premier League pound for pound.

Striker: Callum Wilson- Newcastle United 8pts

Newcastle were expected to lose at Everton but striker Callum Wilson refused to read that story and he scored 2 goals as Newcastle beat Everton away from home 2-0. Wilson has had an excellent season so far scoring 10 goals and assisting in another 4.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

The biggest fixture in England was played at the weekend and this match against two teams who have won 39 league titles between them was always going to generate all of the attention, the world over and not just in England. That it ended 0-0 shouldn’t deter from the hype around the game and what it currently means for the league title.

You couldn’t have had a better build up to Liverpool vs Manchester United. Liverpool who haven’t lost a home game in 2 years in the league and, who currently have the best home record this season up against the team who have the best away record this season.

No one could have expected it but Manchester United are unbeaten away and we are almost at the half way stage of the season. They are also top of the league and Liverpool could have bounced back to the top with a victory. In the end it felt as though both teams wanted to keep their fantastic records in check and it wasn’t the most exciting game to watch.

The real surprise for Liverpool was having two midfielders starting in defence. When we will ever see captain Jordan Henderson in central defence again? But somehow he looked assured and for the most part Manchester United were contained.

It was a game of two halves where Liverpool threatened in the first, controlling the pace of the game without really giving United much food for thought. But the way Liverpool were bossing the ball about it seemed like it would be a long afternoon for United.

In the 2nd half though that wasn’t the case and United started to find their groove through the brilliant Bruno Fernandes. His shot from a Luke Shaw assist made Alisson work hard in goal. Indeed Shaw had a terrific game and was all over the pitch and very inspired.

Paul Pogba had another chance after Fernandes but shot the ball at Alisson. This could have been quite a turning point in the Frenchman’s season, the player who scored the winner in Manchester United’s last game against Burnley could have been the hero again. Pogba has had a difficult season at the club and this could have gone some way to redeeming that.

Perhaps the game was telling that Liverpool had 14 attempts on goal but only 3 shots on target, indeed United had one shot on target more and not many teams over the past 2 years have had that at Anfield.

In the end it was a good result by Manchester United getting a point away from home and a disappointing one for Liverpool dropping another two at home. There must be some concern that Liverpool’s most dangerous strikers have gone quiet of late in Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

It should say everything about the game that the players who picked up the most points were the goalkeepers. Both Alisson and David de Gea picked up 7 points each for their clean sheets.

Liverpool can still win the league and they remain the danger but th drop off from last season is quite evident and one has to wonder if fatigue has caught up with Jurgen Klopp’s team?

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Premier League Game of the Week: Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool

Isn’t it always the case that the league champions find a moment and a game to just remind all of the pretenders that they are still a force to be reckoned with. Forget Liverpool’s recent win over Tottenham, that was crucial and could well set the club on their way for back to back titles. This win at the weekend was a statement, and your rivals do not like statements.

There was a feeling that Crystal Palace were in store for a hammering when Liverpool took a very early lead through Takumi Minamino. It was only his 2nd start of the season for the Reds and he scored after just 3 minutes after being set up by Sadio Mane.

It should have come as no surprise then when Mane doubled the Reds lead just after the half hour mark. Mane has a knack of scoring goals past the Eagles and has done so on the past six occasions. A third goal was imminent and came just before half time, this time by Roberto Firmino, the hero in the Tottenham victory and the champions were well on their way to three points, the score at half time was 3-0.

Whilst Liverpool had bossed possession it was interesting to see that at half time both clubs had had 3 shots on target each and Alisson had been made to work and made some fine saves, it’s just that Liverpool were more clinical.

If the first half had been closer than the score had suggested then the 2nd half would be all Liverpool with another four goals to come and Palace did not even have 1 shot on target.

The goals started to reign in seven minutes after the whistle went and Jordan Henderson scored a rare one for the club. Firmino then added his 2nd of the game after 68 minutes, and it was 5-0. The game was over but someone seemed to be missing from the score sheet.

That someone was Mohamed Salah arguably the best goal scorer the Premier League has had in the past 18 months. But the Egyptian would not be denied and he scored not one but two goals within the last 10 minutes to seal a fantastic victory. He also went to the top of the goal scorer’s chart and now has 13 goals so far this season.

It was a fantastic win for Liverpool and they seem to be able to pull out these type of scores a few times a season. This match felt like the champions had awoken from a slow start by their standards and that will be the worry for their rivals.

It got even better for Liverpool when Tottenham went on to lose against Leicester and Liverpool have now pulled a 4 point gap at the top. The Reds will face West Bromwich Albion at home on Boxing Day and they will be expected to win that. Leicester face a tough game against Manchester United and Tottenham will be in a tricky match away to Wolves. if all goes right Liverpool could pull seven points clear going into the new year games.

Top 3 Performers for Liverpool so far in the fantasy rankings

1. Mohamed Salah 66pts

2. Roberto Firmino 33pts

3. Sadio Mane 30pts

Top 3 Performers for Crystal Palace so far in the fantasy rankings

1. Wilfried Zaha 32pts

2. Christian Benteke 10pts

3. Andros Townsend 10pts

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Premier League: Best 11 Players from Weeks 13 and 14

Two lots of Premier League games have been played in less than a week and the overall winners seem to be the current champions Liverpool. The Reds have pulled away by 4 points after they beat Tottenham in a crucial game at Anfield and then destroyed Crystal Palace 7-0.

Tottenham have had a week to forget with defeat at Liverpool and then they lost against Leicester and have slipped down to 5th place. Everton have got back on form and have won 3 games in a row and Leicester have gone 2nd on 27 points with 3 wins from their last four.

Let’s take a look below at the players that have made the final team for week’s 13 and 14.

Goalkeeper: Damien Martinez- Aston Villa 14pts

Only one team kept 2 clean sheets in the week and that was Aston Villa. Goalkeeper Damien Martinez earned 7 points each as he kept a clean sheet against Burnley and West Bromwich Albion. Martinez has kept seven clean sheets so far.

Defender: Matt Targett- Aston Villa 10pts

Matt Targett has been a rock in defence in Aston Villa’s last 2 games which has seen them earn 4 points from the week. The latest victory being a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the derby game.

Defender: Trent Alexander-Arnold- Liverpool 7pts

Liverpool have been superb this week and Alexander-Arnold earned yet more points as he kept a clean sheet as Liverpool destroyed Crystal Palace 7-0. He has helped keep three clean sheets so far.

Defender: Tyrone Mings-Aston Villa 9pts

Tyrone Mings has made it again in the best team of the week and played his part as Villa drew against Burnley 0-0 and then beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0. Mings now has 34 points overall and is Villa’s best defender so far.

Defender: Andrew Robertson-Liverpool 7pts

Another cool and calculated performance from the Scotsman. Robertson has had to do even better this season with Liverpool having so many injuries. He played his part in the Tottenham and Crystal Palace victories very well.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 12pts

Mohamed Salah is always a danger which he reminded the Premier League once again. Salah scored 3 goals in the two games during the week. Opening the scoring against Tottenham which set up the win and then scoring two goals past Crystal Palace as the Reds won 7-0. Salah is now top goalscorer with 13 goals.

Midfielder: Roberto Firmino-Liverpool 12pts

Roberto Firmino has been quiet for his standards this season but played his part well in the crucial win over Tottenham as he scored the last minute winner and he earned a huge 12 points this week alone. His value is 9.5m.

Midfielder: Scott McTominay-Manchester United 10pts

Scott McTominay had an excellent game at the weekend as he earned 10 points by scoring 2 very early goals against Leeds United. He set up a later goal too as Manchester United ran out 6-2 winners and they are the in form team in the league right now.

Midfielder: Bertrand Traore- Aston Villa 10pts

Bertrand Traore starred in the Midlands derby as Aston Villa beat their fierce rivals West Bromwich Albion 3-0. Traore set up the first goal and then scored the 2nd in a memorable game for the midfielder. His value is 8.5m.

Striker: David McGoldrick- Sheffield United 9pts

David McGoldrick assisted at the weekend to give Sheffield a point against Brighton- only their 2nd of the campaign. In the previous game he scored twice against Manchester United, so had a personal brilliant game, although the Blades lost 3-2.

Striker: Anthony Martial- Manchester United 10pts

Anthony Martial earned 10 points and got some critics off his back too. He assisted in an incredible 3 goals and scored once for his club over the past two games and was just brilliant as Manchester United beat Leeds United 6-2 at home. For the season that was Martial’s first contribution to United’s goals, perhaps that is the spark he needs.

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Liverpool are so far out in front other Premier League teams are now just living in hope

Even when they are not playing their best game, and the ball isn’t falling where they want it to be, Liverpool find a way. It happened last night and it will probably happen when they face West Ham in five days time. Liverpool win games, and no one, at least in the Premier League, can stop them.

Witness how Liverpool were pegged back against Wolves in their last game this week. Pegged back and Liverpool games do not go hand in hand, and this was a strange occurrence. How fitting was it to see firstly that Jordan Henderson had opened the scoring for the Reds. Henderson has been absolutely brilliant especially this season for the club and it felt only fitting that for once the club captain would be on guard to get the goal, a possible winning one and see his team march on to the title with yet another win.

But Wolves would not be contained. They prodded and probed and one could feel that there was a goal in them. When it came in the 2nd half it didn’t feel like a surprise and it was scored by Raul Jimenez, who is on hot form. It was Jimenez that sunk the Saints that are Southampton last weekend scoring 2 goals when his side were 2-0 down and they eventually won 3-2. Wolves fighting spirit is why the English media pundit Charlie Nicolas claimed this week that Wolves would be the first Premier League side in the league to beat Liverpool this season (Aston Villa have already achieved this feat in the Carabao Cup).

Wolves put in a good showing and the match looked set at least to finish 1-1. What an achievement this would have been for the home side and the headlines were ready to be written by the waiting press. Wolves were coming very close to taking points from Liverpool, only the second team to do so, after Manchester United. And then Roberto Firmino erased those columns, and changed history and scored a cracking goal which won Liverpool the game 2-1. It was all over. And that is Liverpool in a nutshell. If Mohamed Salah is struggling, Sadio Mane will score, if Mane is struggling there is Firmino, who has been absolutely brilliant this season and will surely make anyone’s European side of the year. His importance cannot be underestimated.

What one could sense from last night though is how teams in England are resigned to the fact that the league title is Liverpool’s. Let’s face it we’ve known since at least October, we waited for a blip to happen, which hasn’t and doesn’t look like materialising.

No blip, no lack of energy, the machine just keeps on going.

So as a result what has happened and it was evident last night was when Wolves scored or dared, you could say, to score a goal and equalise against the mighty Liverpool. For they have been so utterly dominant that just making the score 1-1 with ten minutes to go would dare to dream. Teams now in the Premier League feel success rests on just taking something from the club. A draw now feels like beating them, and you have to pinch yourself when you see the record so far, 67 points won from a possible 69. It’s Roy of the Rovers stuff for sure, except this is all happening in reality and this side are going to go down in history.

So, it’s now over to West Ham, and no pressure on them. The Hammers need the win too after their 4-1 loss at Leicester and they look like they could be heading for the bottom three faster than a Salah screamer. That game takes place next week on January 29th at London Stadium. But who would bet against Liverpool recording their 23rd win of the league season?

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More Premier League action coming up? Check out our match previews here!

Round seven of the English Premier League season takes place this weekend.

Here’s a look at all the upcoming fixtures this weekend.

Sheffield United v Liverpool

Key men: John Egan (Sheffield United); Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Prediction: Sheffield United 0 – 2 Liverpool Continue reading

Rhian Brewster shows why he may play a big part in Liverpool’s first team next season

Rhian Brewster

Liverpool got their pre-season friendlies off to a flying start with a 6-0 win over Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Thursday evening.

The young Reds striker put a season of injury woes behind him by turning on the style against League One side Tranmere and, in doing so, declared himself fit, ready and able to play a part in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team squad for the 2019/20 campaign.

It’s no secret that Liverpool have been quiet in the transfer market so far this summer. Could Klopp’s faith in Brewster’s abilities be one of the main reasons why Liverpool have not looked to spend big on another forward? Continue reading

Divock Origi needs to hit the ground running next season

Divock Origi

Liverpool are reportedly confident that Divock Origi will extend his current contract deal with the club to go beyond 2020.

Origi showed his worth to the first team on several occasions last season when he filled in for one of the first-choice front three and, more often than not, provided important goals when called upon.

The Reds’ forward line consists of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane so Origi has one of the toughest jobs in football trying to break into Liverpool’s first eleven. However, Jurgen Klopp is reportedly very happy with the Belgian international’s contribution and his ability to be effective in a short space of time. Continue reading

Liverpool set for a quiet summer – Forwards

Liverpool forwards

Can Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp go one step better in 2019/20 and win their first league title for 29 years?

Today is the final part of our look at the whole Liverpool squad. We already discussed goalkeepers and defenders and followed that up with a look at The Reds’ midfield department.

Now we’re going to look at Liverpool’s forward line plus their backup strikers.

Forwards

Mohamed Salah – Salah has now spent two seasons at Anfield, scoring a phenomenal 54 league goals in the Liverpool jersey. The Egyptian speedster has also provided 18 Continue reading