Liverpool’s staff and players have held long discussions about our poor form since the turn of the calendar year.
On New Year’s Eve, we beat Manchester City, having thrashed Stoke on December 27th, but this January we’ve drawn with Sunderland and Manchester United and lost to Swansea and Southampton.
Our chances of winning the Premier League title look very slim and we should now be more concerned about our pursuit of the top four.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s brilliant manager, wants his side to start enjoying their football again and playing with less pressure.
“We had a very intense period around Christmas and new year,” the Liverpool manager told the Guardian. “Fair enough, so did everybody else, but before the Swansea game I actually thought we were back on the right track, with the freshness coming back. But what I spoke most about was enjoying what we do.
“We are Liverpool, a really good football-playing side, and we don’t enjoy the job we have to do. It is not as though we are a team at the bottom of the league that has to defend 80% or 90% of the time. In most of our games we are dominant, so we have to enjoy this, even when we don’t come through after five minutes.”
“We scored two goals, enough to win the game, but I felt the defending could be improved. I also think the goals we have conceded in 2017 have been a little bit of the same story. The influence of throw-ins is a bit too big, for instance, so we spoke about that.”
“Sometimes there’s a single mistake, but most of the time it is seven or eight players who could have done something differently. That’s how we understand it.
“It’s not about one player. We really have to do better as a defensive unit. That was one of the things we discussed in our long meeting after the Swansea game, and I think we are all ready for the rest of the season now. The feeling around the club is not quite as positive as it was, and it’s our job to bring that positivity back.”
Our problems have not just been defensively though. We’ve not had Joel Matip available, while Jordan Henderson has also missed matches. Sadio Mane has been away at the AFCON and crucially – Adam Lallana’s been deployed in the front-three rather than the middle three – which has stunted our developmental play.
Hopefully we can get our season back on track with progression to the EFL Cup Final tomorrow evening.