With no game this weekend and 17 days until the next one, the international break gives Liverpool the perfect chance to reset for a big push…


NO trophy this season, then.

Has anything better encapsulated Liverpool’s campaign than the last 11 days? From thumping Manchester United 7-0 to a dismal defeat at Bournemouth and crashing out of the Champions League, it’s been quite the emotional rollercoaster.

In reality, last night was always an improbable task. Scoring three-plus goals at the Santiago Bernabeu without response is a tall order for any side, but especially one in Liverpool’s form whose record against Real Madrid makes for painful reading.

It means a team who came within just two wins of a quadruple last May now find themselves out of all cup competitions by mid-March, with a top-four finish all that can be salvaged.

So far this season it’s been a tale of poor decisions and false dawns. Every time there’s a suggestion a corner has been turned, Liverpool find a way to go back on themselves. They shoot themselves in the foot, cede too much control and a lot of the time, quite frankly aren’t doing enough to put the ball in the net. Hardly a recipe for success, that.

The away form will be Jürgen Klopp’s number one concern, having lost seven of the last 13 away games in the Premier League. Any instance where Liverpool have shown any remote return of their intensity have come at Anfield, feeding off the energy of the crowd and pressing high up the pitch to force mistakes.

Add to that the supposed inability to ‘beat the dross’ and it’s clear to see why Liverpool are where they are this season.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk looks dejected as Real Madrid score the opening goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg game between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu

The defeat to Bournemouth was the second time this season the Reds have lost to a team bottom of the table and a fourth defeat to a team in the relegation zone — a trend not dissimilar to the early stages of Klopp’s tenure back in 2016. Whether it’s an attitude or entitlement issue is unclear, but fixing that feels key.

One small positive to take will be that even in this season of seasons The Reds have still shown what they’re capable of. A front three of Darwin Nunez, Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo caused havoc against United and offered a glimpse into the future, while Harvey Elliott has continued to impress in difficult circumstances.

There is, of course, no silver bullet or quick fix to these issues overnight. This is a team paying the price for a catalogue of injuries and absence of investment in recent years. Every team goes through a transition period and maybe for this side, this is theirs.

However, with a 17-day break until their next future, Liverpool have the rare benefit of time on their hands. Practice, preparation and a total reset is needed ahead of a critical month, with the small matter of Manchester City away combined with Chelsea and Arsenal. Talk about tall orders.

This side, though, has responded to tall orders.

Come April 1, Luis Diaz will be back in contention while the likes of Jordan Henderson and Thiago will have stepped up their respective recoveries from injury and illness. That’ll offer a timely boost with Klopp able to refine and address the glaring issues at bay.

A big 17 days to regroup and reset. Then we all must go again.

Liverpool’s top-four hopes depend on it.

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