At the start of January I posed a series of questions that loomed over the 2nd half of our season. Most of those were answered emphatically in the affirmative by the ascendent Reds. However, with the announcement that this season will be Klopp’s last one can’t help but feel a degree of uncertainty about the future. We revisit those questions as this week we face Chelsea and Arsenal to end a very busy month.
How will the reds cope without Salah and Endo?
The worry was that the goals would dry up and the middle of the park would lose some rigidity with Salah and Endo absent. It goes without saying that the lads have stepped up big time. The front line has really come through with goals spread around. Jota came back from injury firing on all cylinders, Darwin has found his finishing touch, and Lucho looks back to his dynamic firecracker best. Not to mention Jones has now bagged 5 in his last 8. Even without Mo, who has seen his AFCON campaign cut short with an injury, this squad has goals in it. In the middle of the park Klopp has leaned on the depth and the kids and they have come through with flying colors. Jones and Mac Allister have upped their games. If we can get everyone (save Matip) back fit soon we might just have the best and deepest squad in the league.
Will Klopp dip into the market?
The defensive injuries looked dire at the start of January. Additional injuries to Trent raised alarm. But it was once again the squad and the kids to the rescue. Gomez has been nothing short of brilliant deputizing at both RB and LB. He might just be our most valuable player in the month. Quansah has continued his impressive run of games, be it alongside Virg or Konate, both of which have been imperious. And what more can be said of Connor Bradley? The kid had an impressive loan spell last season at Preston but then an injury meant he was a forgotten man. His cameo against Arsenal in the FA cup showed his defensive prowess as he pocketed Martinelli, who had to that point been terrorizing TAA. He quickly followed those up with excellent starts vs Fulham and Bournemouth and a MOTM 2 assist performance against the Canaries. At this point it would quite a surprise if there were any incomings in January, particularly given Klopp’s future. The summer will most assuredly bring another CB but with Robertson and Trent back, and Tsimikas close, Klopp’s faith in Quansah and Bradley has been rewarded handsomely. Mac Allister’s, McConnel’s, and Clark’s performances have quelled the panic over the CDM situation.
Can we keep our League (and FA) cup running over?
Our cup runneth over indeed. Fulham proved a worthy adversary but they were dispatched in due course. A league cup final Wembley against the chavs awaits. This will be Klopp’s 4th final against the chavs. The prior 3 have all resulted in trophies (Super Cup, League Cup, FA Cup). Can Klopp and the boys make it a clean sweep? In the FA Cup 3rd round the Reds withstood a shaky first 25 minutes at the Emirates to dominate the 2nd half and come home worth winners against the goons. A fortuitous home draw against Norwich in the 4th round proved a routine affair. Another good draw will see us face either Watford or Saints in the 5th round. We are still alive in all 3 cup competitions and the road to silverware is taking shape.
Will we see Thiago, Bajcetic, and Robertson in January?
The answer was mostly no. Robertson forced himself into the matchday squad in the away leg at Fulham and made his return in a 2nd half cameo against the Canaries. The exact return dates for Baj and Thiago remain uncertain. The later looks to be close. However, the way the squad is playing any minutes we get from them will be gravy.
How will the Klopp era at Liverpool conclude?
It was a quite a shock to wake up to on Friday. Unthinkable almost. But now the mission is clear. GO HELLBENT FOR LEATHER FOR THE REMAINING 4 MONTHS AND SEND THIS AMAZING MAN AND MANAGER OUT ON TOP! A historic Quadruple is on offer. One cup final is already assured. We’re top of the league, a favorable 5th round FA cup draw awaits, and we’re sure to be favorites (or joint favorites with Leverkusen) in the Europa league. There will be a time to discuss who takes over when Kloppo departs, but if Sunday’s performance is any indication the lads are focused and look make a proper go of it.
Two huge League games await this week first home against Chelsea and the another trip to the Emirates. If we take six points from these fixtures then the season of our dreams will be well and truly on.
Cheers, DOK x