The nearly unbeaten Liverpool were in the hunt for the famous treble from three major competitions, despite being ousted by Aston Villa in EFL Cup due to the clash with FIFA Club World Cup – which Liverpool won as well.
After going unbeaten in EPL for over 400 days and 44 games, Liverpool surprisingly lost to Watford last weekend, in addition to falling 1-0 short at Madrid against Atletico in the Champions League 1st knockout stage first leg. Chelsea then added to Klopp’s side’s downturn by taking a well-deserved 2-0 victory in FA Cup fifth round at Stamford Bridge.
Three losses in four games and within two weeks is unheard of during Klopp’s tenure at Liverpool, but there just might be silver lining to the latest defeat. Even being the reigning Champions League holders and likely to run out as clear winners in the Premier League, Liverpool’s squad is not the deepest and the burden on their starters this season has been devastating. Waging war on all fronts, in addition to most of the players featuring for their national teams as well, has obviously affected the team and their sharpness is no longer the same as it was, say, two months ago.
Determined to win everything possible, Klopp was not the happiest of managers after the FA Cup exit, but recognized the opportunity to concentrate on the two most prized trophies still available. Liverpool is 22 points ahead of Manchester City in the Premier League table, with 10 games to go against City’s 11. Liverpool needs 11 points to secure their title, which means four wins out of the remaining games will do.
The Champions League 2nd leg against Atletico Madrid next week will be another defining moment for Liverpool’s season. They need to beat Atletico at home in order to progress to the quarter-finals. However, if they win the Premier League and crash out in the UCL first round as defending champions, the season will still be in the positive – Liverpool has last won the UK championship in 1990, when it was still called the First Divison. Klopp has already brought the European silverware, now it’s time to deliver the domestic title.
Liverpool vs Bournemouth (1×2): 1.26 – 6.00 – 9.50
Liverpool vs Atletico Madrid (1×2): 1.48 – 4.00 – 6.60