The last week and a bit have perfectly encapsulated Liverpool’s wretched season. Despite being regarded as the kings of Europe quite recently, their fall from grace has been startlingly swift and surreal.
This season is more of a tale of Cinderella through reverse engineering, as the Reds have become the kings of inconsistency in a truly topsy-turvy season.
From the immeasurable high of beating their arch-nemesis Manchester United, 7 – 0, in a game that defied logic to the ignominy of losing 1 – 0 to basement dwellers Bournemouth in their very next tie. The Liverpool faithful might be forgiven for needing an extended break from their beloved club if only to preserve their sanity.
A season of what-ifs?
For all the talk of tactics and formations and the ever-present injury specter, it is time for both management and players to take ownership of a catastrophic season.
Even the gaffer’s dour interview after the Bournemouth tie, expressing his disappointment, reflects a club searching for its spark and, more importantly, its soul. These were vital components when Klopp and his juggernaut team were willing to take on anyone in their path to becoming one of the most feared teams in the world.
What a difference a season makes as the Merseysiders lurched to several away losses, not to mention a host of draws to make this season utterly forgettable.
No quick fix for Liverpool
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet to address the alarming inconsistency that has cast a massive shadow over the club this season. The team has undoubtedly paid a heavy price for the catalog of Injuries that have robbed the manager of crucial team cohesion, not to mention the loss of form of key players at critical junctures.
However, the elephant in the room is the sense of entitlement and arrogance that have mushroomed through several seasons of sustained success. The manager and the squad seem stale and bereft of ideas as age and injury have turned this once-mighty club into a team capable of delivering the odd anomaly like the United tie.
Will Madrid be the killer punch?
There will be little time to assign the blame game as the marauding Los Blancos take their fluent attack back to the Santiago Bernabeu to puncture the brittle psyche of Klopp and his merry men in the return leg of the Champions League.
It will be foolhardy not to expect Madrid to score more due to their potent attack, irrespective of what Salah and Co. do in front of goal.
Liverpool needs some divine intervention, much like that balmy night in Istanbul in 2005, where coincidentally, a hapless Carlo Ancelotti was on the receiving end of a true anomaly.