Liverpool had a formidable start to the season. They were scoring goals for fun and playing entertaining football. The Reds were seriously title contenders. However, no wins in their last five Premier League games (D3, L2) has left them fifth in the table. In January the Reds lost three consecutive games at Anfield for the first time since October 2012. Jurgen Klopp hasn’t suffered three consecutive home defeats as a manager since April 2007, while in charge of FSV Mainz. As a result of this, they were knocked out of the FA Cup and the EFL Cup. After such a bright start, a disappointing season could be on the cards. Liverpool’s recent defeat against Hull has caused them to drop out of the top four for the first time since September.
At this moment in time, it seems unlikely that Liverpool will get back into the top four. Manchester City are third and have a new lease of life thanks to Brazilian youngster Gabriel Jesus. Manchester United, in sixth place, are now just one point behind Liverpool and are on a run of 15 Premier League games unbeaten. As for Arsenal in fourth place, they always manage to finish in the top four.
Their next three games are against Spurs (home), Leicester (away) and Arsenal (home). For a side that hasn’t registered a Premier League win since New Year’s Eve, this is a tough task. Spurs are on a very good run of form and have only lost one of their last 10 games (W7, D2, L1). Out of the three games, Liverpool will most likely beat Leicester who are yet to score a Premier League goal in 2017 and have lost four of their five matches since the turn of the year. Arsenal are not doing particularly well at the moment (W2, D1, L2) but they should be back on track by the time they face Liverpool in March.
Another problem is Daniel Sturridge. The England international has a very high opinion of himself but when he had his chance to step up in the absence of Sadio Mane who was at the Africa Cup of Nations, he failed to do so. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher even went as far as to say that when Sturridge is on the pitch, ‘it’s like playing with 10 men.’ Sturridge is not the player that he once was and Jurgen Klopp is still not convinced. He has managed just two goals in 14 Premier League appearances this season and is bereft of confidence.
With the way the other teams are playing around them, I don’t think Liverpool will finish in the top four this season. Just like Chelsea, Liverpool are not in Europe. The difference is that the Blues are nine points clear at the top of the table. Liverpool haven’t finished in the top four since the 2013/14 season when they very nearly won their first Premier League title. If they miss out on the top four again this season, Jurgen Klopp and his team will have a lot to answer for.