The calendar and the wear and tear suffocate Liverpool’s ambition

The calendar and the wear and tear suffocate Liverpool's ambition

Liverpool is about to play game number 61 of a season in which a historic achievement throbs and the intensity of the calendar is taking its toll on the players.

“They are practically sleeping on the massage beds,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said on Monday.

The problem is that the games are becoming more important for Klopp’s team. And staying in the race for unprecedented poker titles is getting harder and harder.

They have already won the first two titles and are rowing for the last two after they became FA Cup champions on Saturday, after beating Chelsea on penalties, adding that consecration to the League Cup they obtained in February. They will face Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.

But capturing the third trophy is perhaps the trickiest of the four, given that the Premier League title is out of Liverpool’s hands, with Manchester City leading by four points heading into the final week of the campaign.

City’s 2-2 draw at West Ham on Sunday opens the door for Liverpool to move within a point if they beat Southampton on Tuesday, setting the table for the final day on Sunday.

But Klopp is realistic.

“I don’t know when was the last time that City lost points in two games in a row,” said the German coach.

It hasn’t happened in the league this season. The last one dates back to December 2020, with successive draws against Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion. City proceeded with a run of 21 wins in all competitions.

But Klopp doesn’t just need the collaboration of Aston Villa, managed by former Liverpool star Steve Gerrard next Sunday. He also needs Liverpool to beat Southampton and then Wolverhampton, something Klopp warned won’t be easy due to physical wear and tear.

While Liverpool will play just three days after 120 intense minutes against Chelsea, Southampton will do so with a 10-day break. And the team team led by Ralph Hasenhuttl is renowned for his high pressure proposition.

Southampton drew both games against City this season and beat Liverpool at home last season.

“They will be completely fresh,” Klopp said. “We cannot improvise. Southampton are a well armed team, full of energy… who will play their last game of the season”.

“After 120 minutes, we have to make sure we don’t go crazy with them,” he added.

They will also have to take precautions after injuries to forward Mohamed Salah and defender Virgil van Dijk during the FA Cup final leave them doubtful for Tuesday. They had already ruled out midfielder Fabinho due to a muscle ailment.

However, Liverpool has been able to come out afloat this season, with unexpected figures. Such was the case on Saturday with Kostas Tsimikas, the substitute left-back who took charge of taking the deciding penalty, so Klopp’s hand is not shaky with rotating the team against Southampton game.

“We have won two cups and this is due to one thing,” Klopp stressed. “We have a group of players who have been focused at all times. The attitude in this group is exceptional.”

But I wish Liverpool had a couple of extra days off before facing Southampton. Why don’t you play on Thursday, when another three Premier League games will be played?

“Please, 120 minutes and they put us to play again on Tuesday. It’s a lot,” he said. “We will see. We have to play. The guys who will be starting will leave everything.

There’s no margin of error. If Liverpool lose, City will be crowned champions and the poker dream of titles will vanish.


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