On Wednesday night, Liverpool suffered a 3-0 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Nou Camp. In reality, the scoreline did not tell the whole story. The Reds were still in the game until the 75th minute when Lionel Messi scored the first of his two goals.
The difference between the two teams was Liverpool’s lack of ruthlessness, and of course the inspiration provided by the great man himself.
Unlikely to win a trophy this season
It hurts me to say this, but Liverpool have been superb this season. They maintained a challenge for the Premier League title while making it through to the Champions League semi-final.
However, they have a mountain to climb to recover the semi-final tie against Barcelona, even if the second leg is at Anfield where the Reds are formidable opponents for most teams.
Considering the Reds only finished third in the top-flight last season, the transformation has been a big one to a real title contender in the top-flight. Jurgen Klopp’s side could still win the title, but the feeling now is that they are likely to finish second in the table.
A second-place finish in the league and another semi-final appearance in the Champions League is nothing to be sniffed at. However, considering the Reds were at one point of the campaign seven points clear at the top of the table, second-place seems to be scant consolation.
Can they do better next season?
In most previous seasons, Liverpool’s points tally and performances would have been enough to win the Premier League title. The fact that the Merseysider’s have suffered just one league defeat is impressive.
The problem that Liverpool have is that they are up against such formidable opponents in the top-flight in Manchester City. The Citizens runaway with the title last season, breaking record after record.
This season Pep Guardiola’s team has found it more difficult to hit top form. However, they have somehow kept ahead of Liverpool, mainly due to the Reds drawing too many games.
The big question is, can the Reds repeat the form of this season in the next campaign? Also, will City slip-up as many times as they have this time around. The Citizens suffered some strange defeats against the likes Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Leicester around Christmas.
Those defeats handed the title initiative to Liverpool. It was Reds golden opportunity to run away with the title. However, they failed to take full advantage and it looks like they will fall just short of winning a big trophy this season.
A fantastic season
Liverpool have enjoyed a fantastic season whatever happens in the next few weeks. Rather bizarrely, some are asking questions about Jurgen Klopp’s ability to win trophies. The German did not have a problem winning trophies at Dortmund and he is a top-class coach.
The way he has turned Liverpool into such a strong team deserves immense credit. To label him a fraud for finishing just behind a superb City side and losing to Barcelona in the Champions League would be harsh.
Of course, the Premier League title race is still ongoing. However, Liverpool are now odds of 3/1 to win the title this season, with reigning champions Manchester City 8/11 to retain their crown. I expect Liverpool and Manchester City to win both of their remaining games, which would mean City will finish the season as champions.
The race is not over and Liverpool have come a far way this season. However, I simply cannot ignore the feeling that the Reds have missed their best chance in years of winning a major trophy.
Will Liverpool still win a big trophy this season?
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