The Long-Term Trends That Show Liverpool FC Can Finish With 80+ Points
Klopp's Liverpool's impressive record of regularly putting 'winning' runs together
Nothing from the past guarantees future results; but previous attainment is perhaps the best guide. If you've achieved something before, then you retain a likelihood of achieving it again, aside from the passage of time diminishing those powers.
This season's Liverpool team – often shorn of younger, faster players to aid those with experience – has looked beyond its peak, but a balanced, injury-crisis-free XI in the second half of the season – the standard caveats (injury-ravaged teams can, logically, never be as good) – could see a replication of the kinds of long and successful runs Liverpool have gone on over the past four-to-five years.
I've looked at seven distinct runs that encompass almost 170 games, and which include only Premier League and Champions League fixtures, so as to exclude the easier lower-league cup games; so, if anything, a harder task than simply playing the remaining 24 league games of a 'below normal' difficult level, given that it already excludes travelling to Arsenal, Spurs, Man United and Everton, four of the six toughest away games on paper. (Newcastle away still remains, however.)
Indeed, some of the runs I looked at were in the second half of the season, when facing Champions League knockout-level opposition, and in several cases, all the way up to the final. Yes, there may have been teams like Benfica and Porto in there, but that’s hardly like the one or two weaker teams you could face in the group stages.
While Liverpool have struggled this season with some of the 'easier' fixtures, my sense is that these often followed within days of super-tough games, where the extra effort – clear against Man City – took its toll on a side that was still carrying signs of exhaustion from last season's mammoth efforts, and with limited options for rotation.
The Reds then went up against teams who were faster and fresher (Nottingham Forest, Leeds United), and were outrun. So, not much turnaround time, in a gruelling season; Liverpool put a lot into beating Man City and West Ham United, but then the third game in six days was where they hit the wall; a trip to Ajax and then it was Leeds at home days later, again as part of what was by then a run of weeks of constant three/four-day turnarounds.
The injuries made this harder to contend with. Were Liverpool struggling with their best team, then I'd have had a lot more concerns.
Still, the number of long, high-points-hauling runs, that I will detail and discuss below, is mighty impressive. This includes runs – the second half of last season, and the final ten games of 2020/21 – where I really didn’t see such improvements as possible.
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