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Football News: Liverpool FC Review of the Season 30 April 2018

Liverpool FC Review of the Season 30 April 2018
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I like to carry out my review of the season before it ends, the reason for this is that the next 3 or 4 games will have a disproportionate effect on how we perceive the season compared to the 52 games we've already played. Right now the best case scenario is a CL win and 2nd place in the league, the worst case is a trophyless season finishing in 5th place, the last 4 games of the season shouldn't dictate whether we were good or bad in all the games leading up to them.

To be fair on the team we have to compare what's happened to the targets set at the beginning of the year, I was very clear in what I wanted, consolidate top four and be competitive in the cup competitions. For the first part we just about scrape a pass, last year we achieved fourth place on the last day of the season amassing 22 wins and 10 draws, this year we're similar, we're not guaranteed top four with two games to go and we've managed 20 wins, 12 draws with 2 games to play. Frankly this is a little bit disappointing, for all the positivity in the club right now our league form hasn't improved on last season and with City raising the bar we'll have to improve dramatically to have a chance of competing next year.

Our performances in the CL have been extraordinary, not only have we reached the SFs (with a place in the final looking likely) but we've looked superb doing it, there is no doubt that, up to this point, we have the been the best side in the competition. This has been counterbalanced by what happened in the domestic cups, whilst there is always an element of luck in cup competitions to go out so early in both is very frustrating with the loss at home to WBA being particularly disheartening.

Away from actual results Liverpool have demonstrated that on their day they will beat any other team in the world with the dismantling of Man City over two legs in the CL QFs being the highlight. Mo Salah has put in a season's performance which will cause debate for years to come, who was the best of the PL era, Ronaldo in 07/ 08, Henry on 02/ 03, Suarez in 13/ 14 or Salah in in 17/ 18? Alongside Salah Firmino is emerging as one of the most extraordinary and unique attacking players in the world. At the other end of the pitch Virgil Van Dijk may be the heir to Carragher we've been waiting for, if he can extend his record of 9 goals conceded in 12 games over a 38 game season then Liverpool will have the platform they require to mount a serious title challenge. Finally we have the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, rarely has a major signing faced such scrutiny and it's even a rarer that a player has changed peoples opinions so quickly. He's not the finished article but if he carries on his current trajectory he could end up as being one of Klopp's shrewdest signings.

As for the negatives, the fact that we've beaten City convincingly in 3 out of 4 encounters but haven't made a decent crack at the title suggests there's still something not quite right with Klopp's plan. 7 draws out of 18 at Anfield is something we must improve on and suggests we haven't quite figured out how to break down a packed defence yet. Goalkeeper is arguably the most important position on the pitch and winning the league is very difficult without a top class one. Karius has done better than many expected when he came in but there are still question marks about whether he's top class or just decent. Is it worth risking a shot at the title to give Karius another season or does Klopp look to fix the issue in the transfer market, this will be his biggest question this summer. The squad is thinner than we realise, we have no proven alternatives to our brilliant front three and out midfield in one dimensional (how good that one dimension is isn't the point) . Klopp also needs to get a grip with his substitutes where his record is appalling, subs are a vital tool for turning draws into victories which is exactly what we need.

Winning the CL would be amazing and it would be impossible to consider this season bad if we do but we mustn't let it mask the problems still apparent in the squad. We've underperformed in the league (which remains the ultimate target) and the domestic cups and whilst Salah may be the best player in the league that's meaningless if we're not challenging for the title. Next season Klopp will have the squad he wants, the strongest 11 will include at least 8 players that Klopp has signed or promoted and any talk of transition must be over. We've done some brilliant things this season but we still need to be much better next because it's time to go title hunting.

Written by PutneyRed April 30 2018 13:13:09