Just a few weeks back, Liverpool was unbeaten in the Premier League and they almost felt invincible. In fact, the talk was not if they could lose a match, but rather if they could break Arsenal’s “Invincibles” record of 49 matches without a loss.
They had done 44 matches and beaten everyone in the league. There was luck on their side; even on those days where it seemed they were under the weather, they had managed to grind out the wins one way or the other. It was a beauty to behold. But as I predicted before now, I did not see their team going unbeaten all through the season or breaking the Arsenal record. But I never could’ve foreseen in my wildest dream the team that would eventually shatter their dream. Let me take you on their journey.
Liverpool had pretty much already won the league as at January 2020, but they still had records to break, which was looking far more important than the 30-year wait they’d had to endure since their last Premier League trophy. The records in sight included the unbeaten and Arsenal’s Invincibles records, and thanks to the help of their U-23 squad, they could also do the treble and equal the Manchester United record.
It was doable and nothing seemed to hold them back from becoming the European champions. Nothing but Athletico Madrid led by Diego Simeone, a man Jurgen Klopp respects for his never say die dogged character that he drills into his team.
Liverpool got the shock of their life in Spain when they lost by a lone goal to an ultra-defensive side that parked the bus once they got a goal. Liverpool could be beaten finally. Many claimed it was a fluke till Westham came to town in Anfield and pushed Liverpool to the wall. If not for a Fabianski’s blunder after so many saves, Westham could have easily won that match or more fairly drawn it.
But Liverpool were defiant to the warnings and when they went away to Watford, the 19th team on the league table of 20 teams, they met a Pearson side that had modified both the Madrid style of defending mixed with Westham’s bravery in attack. The result was a breathtaking shock with Sarr running the show for Watford and the team winning 3-0. The dream for the unbeaten record was over. The dream was shattered, and Klopp probably felt a sort of relief because the pressure of the record was clearly getting to the team. But quickly without rest, there was the business of the FA cup to deal with against Chelsea, and again they lost 2-0.
The question is simple: has this amazing Liverpool side run out of steam after two Champion’s League finals? Are they finally showing signs of wear and tear? Who would blame them if they are though? But it should be a warning because the same thing had happened with Klopp’s Dortmund side: after running out of steam, they’d finished a woeful seventh the following season after swimming in relegation waters in the Bundesliga.
I believe that Athletico Madrid would go through at Anfield in the Champion’s League, beating Liverpool. Liverpool would have to console itself with the English Premier League. And if the team is not fully rested by next season, they just might implode. Time will reveal all.
Those are my predictions though. What about yours? Let us know in the comments section below.