The race for the Premier League is starting to get interesting. For much of the campaign, Liverpool looked more formidable than a Gladiator riding a T-Rex. However, last night’s 1-1 draw at West Ham means the Reds have drawn their last two league games.
What has happened to Liverpool’s dynamic style?
The Merseysiders have not suffered defeat in either of their last two league outings. Therefore, the talk of a collapse is slightly premature.
However, what will be concerning for everybody connected with the Reds is that they are not playing with the same attacking dynamism that has become a Liverpool trademark under Klopp.
Liverpool are at their best when front three Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are at the top of their game. Any defence in the world struggles to contain the trio when on top form.
Mane has netted in the last two Premier League games, but apart from that, the dynamic style of football more often than not played under Klopp seems to have disappeared in the last two games. Obviously, contrary to reports Salah and co. are only human and will have off days. They may be tired or be suffering from fatigue, as all three players from the Liverpool frontline played at last summer’s World Cup.
Without the trio on top form, the Reds seem to struggle to create much going forward and that is a concern for the Merseysiders. The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi are capable of scoring goals but are nowhere near the same standard as the first choice trio.
Are the nerves starting to get to the Liverpool players?
This is an obvious point to make about nerves. It has been mentioned in the past that the majority of the Liverpool squad have never been in a title race, so this is their first experience of such immense pressure. I am sure it is a unique pressure, which only those who have competed at the top level of the game will understand. On a mental level, it must be difficult, as reigning champions Manchester City are now closing on the Reds.
You would have to have nerves of steel as a person and player not to feel the pressure. Even City, who have had experience of being in this situation on numerous occasions in recent seasons seem to have suffered nerves this season, with major slip-ups, including the inexplicable 2-1 defeat at Newcastle.
However, those City players and indeed boss Pep Guardiola have shown their mental strength in previous title races. Jurgen Klopp has been in title races before with Dortmund and sometimes came out on top, but there are now question marks over his player’s mental strength.
The two recent draws may just be a blip, as former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher described them. The Reds may well return to form against Bournemouth on Saturday at Anfield. Only time will tell.
Manchester City now the favourites for the title
Reigning champions Manchester City could move to the top of the Premier League on Wednesday night with a victory over Everton. Usually, the clash would be a tricky one, but the Toffees head into the clash on a terrible run of form.
Even if City win at Goodison Park, Liverpool will still have a game in hand, but the fact that the Citizens have returned to the top of the table could be vital in the psychology stakes. The reigning champions are now favourites to win the title again at odds of 5/6.
There is a sense that Liverpool may have blown their big chance in the last few games. The Reds could have extended their lead to seven points. However, they have let City back in the title race. The Citizens will now be determined to keep up their positive momentum and stay ahead of Klopp’s team.
Liverpool’s improvement this season has certainly made the race for the title race more interesting. There will be many more twists and turns this season in the title race. City may not even win at Everton. However, now they have the opportunity to go top, it is difficult to see the Citizens dropping points on Merseyside.
Liverpool fans should be majorly positive about their team though, as the fate of the Premier League title is still in their hands. The Reds need to rediscover their attacking threat sooner rather than later in order to finally end the long wait for the English top-flight title.
What has happened to Liverpool’s attacking play in recent weeks?
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