English Championship: Liverpool does not want a new disillusionmentMarch 10, 2019
In the last ten years, only two teams failed to win the English championship after spending Christmas in the lead: Liverpool version 2008-2009 and … Liverpool version 2013-2014. Two teams that could be joined this season by Liverpool version 2018-2019.
This situation is enough to make any Reds fan crazy. It must be said that they have been waiting for almost thirty years to see their team win the national championship. It was the 1989-1990 season and it goes back so much that, at the time, we did not speak yet of the Premier League, and that 23 of the 28 players of the current squad were not yet born.
Still, it's not as if Liverpool had won anything since or if the Merseyside club had been ridiculous. The Reds finished four times second and fifth in the league three times, they won three cups of England (1992, 2001, 2006), four cups of the league (1995, 2001, 2003, 2012), three Community Shields (1990 , 2001, 2006), a UEFA Cup (2001), and especially a Champions League (2005).
The tragedies 2009 and 2014
But among all these trophies, it obviously lacks that of champion of England. Liverpool did not go far, especially in 2009 and 2014, but at the time, the spell had not smiled.
In 2009, Liverpool spends the New Year in mind. Rafael Benitez, the coach of the Reds ensures that Sir Alex Ferguson, coach of Manchester United, main rival in the title race, is "nervous and scared".
In the wake, Liverpool wins only two of the seven matches that follow, while Manchester United continues its winning streak to take the lead.
Liverpool may be on the lookout for the rest of the season, and even if they are scared several times by winning matches in the final seconds, Alex Ferguson's men will finish champions with four points ahead .
Four years later, the other Manchester club, Manchester City, robs Liverpool of their league title. More than Manchester City who wins this title, it is Liverpool who loses it.
With three games left, the Reds are six points ahead of City (which has one game less). But against Chelsea, Steven Gerrard misses a control and slides in his half of field, to send Demba Ba to register the first of the two London goals.
A week later, Liverpool is getting back from 3-0 to 3-3 by Crystal Palace. The last win against Newcastle will not help. Manchester City do not tremble, win their last four games and finish the season with two points ahead.
A "different" season
So Liverpool will he repeat the story five years later? At the end of December, the title of champion seemed promised to the Reds for the first time in 29 years. With seven points ahead of Manchester City, and 17 wins and three draws in twenty games, nothing seemed to happen to them.
So much so that before the second meeting between the two teams on January 3, the site FiveThirtyEight, specializing in the analysis of statistics and data ensured that the only way for Manchester City to win the title was that Liverpool lose it .
For the BBC, this season was coming " different " : "It looks like we have a Liverpool team that are masters of the Premier League and their own destiny. […] Liverpool is now favorite for the title. There is no debate. "
Two months, four draws and one loss later (in nine games), Liverpool is now second in the Premier League and one point behind Manchester City.
The Reds' prolific attack, led by Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino, lost efficiency and cost a draw last week in the derby against Everton (0-0) after another draw in two weeks earlier against Manchester United (0-0): two games where Liverpool did not really look dangerous.
What wake up old demons.
"We must remain calm, relativized the defender Virgil Van Dijk. There are nine matches left and everything is still possible. I think people forget that there is still a quarter of the season to play. One point is not much, even if it remains something, since it is Manchester City. We'll see. "
Since January 1, however, we note a decline in the regime of the Reds. If they outperformed in all areas of the game so far, they have since regained a more "normal" pace.
According to Understat's advanced statistics model, Liverpool had gained eight points more than expected over the first twenty days (compared to the opportunities created and granted). Since then, the Reds have taken two less than expected, especially because of their lack of effectiveness in front of the goal.
This is also regretted by Jürgen Klopp, the German coach Liverpool after the draw against Everton, March 3 (0-0): "It was a tough game for a lot of reasons. But in this difficult game to control, we had three or four real chances. "
To avoid further fatigue in the title race, some urge Liverpool to "swing" its eighth-final Champions League to focus on the championship.
Jürgen Klopp said he would not do such a thing, even though he knows Liverpool fans would prefer an English title to a win in the Champions League.
The good news for Liverpool is that Jürgen Klopp's men have a better schedule with more home games and opponents supposedly weaker than those in Manchester City.
Above all, they will have the opportunity to put pressure on City, in the coming weeks, playing games before the Citizens, who are still in contention in the league cup.
But for all this to happen, Liverpool should no longer let slip points. And it starts this Sunday, against Burnley (13 hours).
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