I guess Liverpool is beatable after all.
The Reds lost their first Premier League match since January of 2019 (422 days) in shock fashion on the weekend, falling 3-0 to Watford. It ended a 44-match unbeaten run in the league, and also dashed any hope of beating the Arsenal "Invincibles" of 2003-04. But the signs have been there for some time: Liverpool has not been playing very well for at least a month.
There was the narrow escape (3-2) against another relegation threatened team, West Ham United, last Monday. That followed the 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg.
Smattered in the last month of so have been some narrow 1-0 wins, where the Reds did just enough to get a result.
Could it be because there has been no pressure applied by any teams this season? Last year, Liverpool was playing at its highest level basically for six months, as it was locked in a battle to the wire with Manchester City in the Premier League. That kept the team sharp, and ultimately led them to a Champions League title.
But the rest of the Premier League has been very poor for much of the season, and the teams right behind Liverpool in the league (City, Leicester City) have seen their form fall apart of late.
Liverpool will win the Premier League, but the lack of pressure being applied could harm the club in other competitions. Think of PSG each season in the Champions League.
Of course, Liverpool cold go on a tear again at any point. Tuesday, the Reds have a tricky F.A. Cup tie in London, and Jurgen Klopp has not exactly prioritized this competition. But he may change his tact today.
“The defeat has nothing to do with the line-up tomorrow night,” Klopp said in his prematch press conference.“Do we want to win the game more because we lost the last one? I don’t know, because we want to win games constantly. This is the most important game we have, because it is the only one we play and we have to win it if we want to go through.
“It will not be easier for us because we lost the last game: there will be more motivation. We never really think about lesser pressure or whatever. We are Liverpool, we always have to deliver. We play at Chelsea, but everyone expects us to win.
“It is not less pressure than before. It is just last 16 of the F.A. Cup and we want to go through and hopefully everyone can see that.”
Is this a small down period that every team goes through at some point, or will the funk continue for Liverpool?