Liverpool and their charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp have had to deal with plenty of just criticism over the last few weeks, but that misery was soon put to bed for Klopp and Co, thanks to a Wednesday night victory in the Champions League as the Reds beat Red Bull Leipzig by two goals to nil in Budapest.
That victory leaves Liverpool fans dreaming of another shot at winning the Champions League, a tournament in which they have excelled in under Jurgen Klopp, including when winning the tournament thanks to a 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the 2019 final at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid.
Liverpool also memorably reached the final at the end of the 2017/18 season, when they were beaten 3-1 by the giants of Real Madrid, who notched up a third straight Champions League in the process after beating Juventus 4-1 in 2017 and Atletico Madrid in a penalty shoot out in 2016.
Liverpool are now as short as 6/1 to win the Champions League this season, and with nothing really to play for in the league, Klopp's men can afford to have a good crack at Europe, where Manchester City are the current favourites to win the Champions League at 9/4.
Jurgen Klopp has undoubtedly had a tough time of things of late as his Premier League champions have slipped alarmingly off the pace in the top flight. From top at Christmas to now seventh, the Reds’ title defence has collapsed in what has been a huge meltdown.
A shock defeat from Southampton kicked off the poor form at the beginning of the year, but what followed was perhaps the biggest surprise of the season as Liverpool hit crisis point with six defeats on the spin at Anfield. So often a fortress for the Reds, Liverpool had previously gone almost four years with losing a game in the league at home, that was until Burnley beat them at home on the 21st January.
Since then, the form turned from bad to worse at Anfield, with newly promoted Fulham grabbing a 1-0 victory against Liverpool to give themselves a chance of survival in the Premier League this season.
Champions League Hopes
With their top-four hopes likely to go up in smoke as current 7/2 shots for the a Premier League top four spot according to the latest odds on the Oddsmanager soccer page, and with a title challenge in tatters, Klopp may have been fearing the worst as he prepared his weary players for a return to Budapest for the second leg of this big Champions League match up, that will ultimately book one side a place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s major club competition.
Klopp will be hoping that the first leg victory will be enough to boost the confidence levels for the Reds, as they’ve certainly looked lost of that in recent weeks, with injuries only heightening their issues out on the pitch. Players who have looked like the best in their positions over the last few years have quickly become weary, with some even losing their spots in their respective international sides for the recent World Cup qualifiers.
With a resurgence badly needed, Klopp will have used the international break as a chance to refresh and redress the balance in his side, something which hasn’t looked right at several points this season.
Fabinho started the game against Red Bull Leipzig in his favoured position in midfield, and you’d have to think that Klopp would use him there again after the retreat of the domestic campaign, especially after he admitted that he was one of the club’s best defensive midfielders.
Thiago is another that has struggled since coming to Anfield and Liverpool supporters would have certainly been expecting more from a man that has so far plied his trade for Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
He certainly has the experience to cope with the expectations that come with the Liverpool shirt, but if one man can help to be the catalyst for Liverpool’s revival towards the end of this season, then it’s the Spaniard, with creativing one of his most natural talents on the football pitch.