It’s not something you want to hear having spent over £300 million over the past few seasons but with the January window now open fans are discussing what areas of the team still need strengthening. There seems to be polls on Twitter on a daily basis and the alarming thing is a different area seems to win these polls every other day.
These aren’t knee jerk reactions to defeats either. These aren’t short term solutions because of player injuries. These are genuine concerns. Fans believe the squad needs some serious reinforcements.
So with this in mind why do so many fans refuse to rein in their expectations? If the club needs 5/6 players why should we be disappointed when we don’t finish in the top 4? Obviously Liverpool should be competing on all fronts. They’re Liverpool FC after all. Realistically though should we expect that? We’ve not won the league in my life time. Spurs have finished above us in 5 of the last 6 seasons. The gap between 6th and 10th is shortening with every passing season and there’s a chance Liverpool get caught up in that battle and yet it’s rarely acknowledged by fans.
People insist the table will go back to normal soon but we’re 20 games into the season, over half way in the season, and the likes of Palace and West Ham are still above us. “It won’t last”, “we’ll improve as the season progresses” and maybe that’s true, but couldn’t that also be true for the likes of Manchester City, Spurs and United?
We as fans seem to be able to complete 4 of the 5 stages of grief. Plenty of denial on social media with regards to just how good this squad is. Anger? You could fuel a power station on the anger generated amongst Liverpool fans and how everything is going. Bargaining is an odd one. Plenty of “ifs and buts” during this stage. If Sturridge was fit would it be this bad? If Henderson hadn’t been injured would we have lost against West Ham? Had Rodgers gone in the summer would we be where we are? These types of things. Then comes depression. It’s an eerie feeling when you have no hope when it comes to Liverpool. Instead of being excited about a match you dread it. Many won’t want to admit it but I’m sure we’ve all gone into games this season dreading what we’re about to witness.
We skip the last stage, acceptance, and we just start over again with denial. It’s just the perpetual life cycle of a Liverpol fan. We can’t seem to accept the fact even though the league is poor we still can’t claw our way into the top 4.
With this in mind you have to ask yourself; should we reassess our expectations for the season?
As I mentioned earlier we all want to finish in the Champions League spots but it’s been clear this season we don’t have the consistency to do so. What we have learnt however is the fact the players can raise their games in certain situations. It’s this revelation that may form the foundations for our new expectations. Liverpool should target the cup competitions.
The Europa League offers us the chance to get into the Champions League. With how inconsistent we are in the league and this being Klopp’s first season shouldn’t we gamble and go all in for that? I’m sure a trophy next to Klopp’s name would be a greater achievement than a 4th place finish. The money the Champions League brings in is of course an added bonus but surely winning a trophy would add to the Jurgen Klopp myth?
Many will argue the Europa League is a tough competition, it is, but it’s also a knockout one meaning it’s not about longevity. Klopp’s shown what he can do in one off games. He’s got his tactics spot on against Manchester City, Chelsea and Southampton. Why wouldn’t he be able to replicate that in the Europa League?
A trophy, European experience and of course qualification for the Champions League should be incentive enough. That’d be enough to be considered a successful season wouldn’t it? Augsburg won’t be a walk in the park but it offers us a good opportunity to make it into the next round without actually playing that well. Defeat Augsburg and you’re just 6 games away from the final.