The Premier League table offered a grim vision for the Reds at the time; they were seven points behind Chelsea, fourth, and 10 behind Leicester City, third.
A top four finish was still possible for Jurgen Klopp’s men, but it seemed highly unlikely as consistency continued to avoid Liverpool.
And yet somehow the Reds managed to finish third in the end, winning eight of their last 10 matches, with Klopp claiming his first victory at Old Trafford since moving to Merseyside in 2015 underway. road.
Only Leeds United and Newcastle United managed to prevent the team from collecting three points, with both sides scoring equal goals in the final 10 minutes.
Many will wonder how Liverpool did it, but the answer – aside from a few subtle tweaks – is complicated as they seemed to largely persist with the majority of what had failed to deliver positive results before.
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Klopp’s outfit – though it sounds simplistic – suffered remarkable misfortune for an extended period despite performing at a reasonably high level, with the team regularly punished for their ineffectiveness in the penalty box compared to the clinical finish. presented by his opponents.
Liverpool lead the Premier League this season in shots, expected goals without penalty, passes in the penalty area, progressive passing and defensive pressure in the final third.
Those numbers offer a glimpse into how the Reds performed throughout the campaign in a number of areas, with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta elaborating on the Anfield side a few months ago.
The Spaniard said: “They are, if not the best, the second best team in almost every department that we as coaches have to analyze. But that’s football and the ball has to be in the net. “
Klopp gradually achieved some of his own failures along the way – such as allowing Fabinho to stay in midfield and trusting Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to play regularly for his side – but much of what Liverpool offered in the field before and after positive results began to occur, has remained similar.
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A new threat of set pieces has also benefited the Reds; Until about a month ago, the most recent stoppage goal came in the 7-0 win over Crystal Palace at Christmas, when Liverpool topped the table.
These free goals can help a lot when it comes to winning victories and they certainly have been lately.
Diogo Jota scored from a corner kick at Old Trafford two weeks ago, Phillips scored a header against Burnley, Sadio Mane scored in the last game against Palace, and who could forget that Alisson Becker scored the goal of victory at the Hawthorns with an antenna finish?
Liverpool’s open-play score improved, but those extra goals from other areas – including those from Thiago and Trent Alexander-Arnold – helped immensely.
Klopp will be delighted with the eventual arrival of his side given the struggles of the campaign, but although results have fluctuated throughout, Liverpool have never been too far from their usual performances.
As the Reds prepare to leave next season, it’s reasonable to suggest that they probably need a lot less than many might think to climb back to the top of England’s top flight.