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Thursday, April 25, 2024

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Premier League: Tottenham vs Liverpool; A must-win for the champions?

In the revere fixture all the pressure was on Liverpool.

Tottenham Hotspur had presented the best challenge to their title at that moment in time and were playing proper ruthless Jose Mourinho football.

Liverpool dominated them all game, but it looked like it was destined for 1-1 draw until a corner was swung in and Roberto Firmino leapt like a salmon to rise above the static defenders.

He scored a fantastic header, running towards the kop which was filled with 2,000 supporters although the noise suggested it was full to the brim.

Nearly two months on and Tottenham are now not the title challengers and Liverpool have fallen off a cliff.

That game was the last time Liverpool won at Anfield, which tells you absolutely everything you need to know.

It has been woeful.

It may be the first time that Liverpool supporters have seen an array of annoyances all come together at once under Jurgen Klopp which has then became visible in results.

Poor individual performances have happened before and will happen again but this time it seems that every player wants to have their bad patch at the same time, only two or three players can really come out with any real credit from this run. 

Klopp’s decision making for teams has become irritating as well with his reluctance to play Takumi Minamino after his best game in a Liverpool shirt against Crystal Palace.

As well as this there is the decision to play Thiago in the deep role and play Wijnaldum further forward when it really should be the other way round.

Gini Wijnaldum as created three big chances in his last 100 appearances, yes three.

Then last but not least playing Rhys Williams, who is only a kid, in high pressure games at Old Trafford exposing him to make crucial mistakes, which he did.

Williams might turn out to be a great centre back in the future but it’s clear he is not ready for these big challengers yet meaning it is simply just unfair to throw him in the deep end when you have Nat Phillips available.

The big classic centre back, who is older than Joe Gomez, has much more experience and shown he is capable enough of putting it solid performances.

Of course, then that all comes back on the owners, which is the last annoyance.

Klopp has come out and publicly made comments in recent post and pre match press conferences about how he doesn’t make the decisions which has angered some fans. 

The owners are in charge of the money and the fact they seem to be refusing to back one of Liverpool’s greatest managers is a risky ball game to play.

To be honest it’s not risky, it is completely obscene.

This Liverpool side don’t need the next Van Dijk but they need a component centre back to partner Joel Matip, yet the plan is if their man isn’t available at the time then they wait.

However, this time round it could be the difference between top four and not.

If Liverpool don’t get Champions League for next season, it would be an astronomical step back which is why a centre back is desperately needed but it looks unlikely that a deal will happen.

So much for storming the title, it is a very difficult battle for top four now which begs the question is this game now a must win?

Realistically every game should be a must win but with the run of fixtures the reds have they need to turn a corner and fast.

Momentum needs to be built as well as confidence for the players and the fans who need cheering up.

There are some positives for the game against Spurs as Jordan Henderson will be ready to start as well as Joel Matip barring any late dramatic changes.

Plus, there was also some positives to take from the FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford as Mo Salah got back on the scoresheet with two lovely goals.

Roberto Firmino had a 20-minute period in the game in which he looked back to his best, obviously the 20 minutes needs to turn into 90 but it is something to build upon.

Also, James Milner had a brilliant game showing his teammates how to throw in a proper tackle after the majority of them lost 50/50 balls against Burnley in the embarrassing defeat at Anfield.

If Liverpool don’t win this and play out of their skin, the champions who ran away with the title last season could go into the weekend in 7th place.

So yeah, it is a must win.

Written by Elliot Thompson

READ MORE: Liverpool’s silent title

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