This has been an odd Premier League season, and one team that truly represents that is Liverpool F.C. With all of the ups and downs they have had, from sacking Brendan Rodgers to hiring Jurgen Klopp, what would a successful Liverpool season look like?
That’s a big question, one that has been asked in several different ways the last few days. Will Klopp favor the cups? Will he play the youths and come what may? Should he blow his transfer kitty in January for a big Champions League push, or hold off until the summer and figure out the squad he has now? Knowing Klopp, from afar obviously, he won’t take any competition lightly. I won’t hold off anymore on what would be a good Liverpool season this year: At least one cup, two good runs in the remaining cups, and Top 6.
This goal is both an accomplishment and realistically achievable. Liverpool will play Stoke in the Semifinal of the Capitol One Cup, leading the differential by a goal. As a result, they stand a good chance of attaining at least one of the requirements, either winning a cup or a good cup run. If they lose by two or more goals, they are knocked out of the Capitol One Cup, but are left with a good cup run. If they win, they are in the final against either Everton or Manchester City. That would leave Liverpool one game away from a cup win.
The Liverpool season shouldn’t be sewn up there, however. The FA Cup and Europa League still remain. For the season to be considered a success, Klopp’s boys need to make significant runs in these cups. Obviously, if they can win they should. If Liverpool can make it to the Quarterfinals of both and the Semis of at least one, on top of a Capitol One Cup win, then they can have some confidence moving in the 2016/17 season.
We cannot forget the Premier League, however. Prioritizing the cups is what got Kenny Dalglish fired, after all. That being said, we have to be realistic. Liverpool were left in a very poor shape when Brendan Rodgers left. The team was devoid of inspiration, ideas, and hope. There were also clear issues with the squad. Klopp may have brought optimism back to the club, but he hasn’t been able to solve all of the woes of this sleeping English giant. This is still very much a Brendan Rodgers team playing the Jurgen Klopp way. Many of the players may transition and thrive under Klopp, but some will not. That is why we must look at a Top 6 finish at the very least. Getting above Manchester United, who I believe will finish outside the Top 4 as well, would be good for the fans, and finishing within the Top 4 would be their dream, a realistic goal is sixth.
The important thing to look for is this goal isn’t underselling the team, or saying ‘look at how far they’ve fallen’. Quite the contrary, actually. The importance of the remainder of this season is to give Jurgen Klopp a chance to feel out this team, figure out who should stay, and who should go. This goal, which would signify a successful Liverpool season, realistically gives them enough of a foundation of success to build on, and that is what is most important. All one needs to do is look at Tottenham this season under Mauricio Pochettino. They are in great, consistent form. That only comes from having a manager who has built a foundation that they believe in. It looks like Liverpool are attempting to “do a Spurs” once again. This time, it might even turn out well for them.