If you go by his words – and why wouldn’t you? – Jurgen Klopp didn’t need convincing that his Liverpool side were still capable of dominant, winning performances. So – after a week in which they lost their unbeaten run at then 20th placed Swansea and then crashed out of the FA Cup at home to now 20th placed West Brom – Tuesday’s 3-0 win at Huddersfield was more to calm the frayed nerves of Liverpool fans.
Sure there was cause for concern. Back to back defeats, in an atmosphere already roiled by discontent over the lack of transfer activity in the wake of Coutinho’s departure for Barcelona, was only going to raise hackles. Yet, the hue and cry in some quarters was clearly at odds with Liverpool’s overall form over the past three months.
Indeed, Klopp would not have to look far to find inspiration for bouncing back from adversity after a bad week. The fact is, this Liverpool team have bounced back impressively since their season seemed headed for the dumps after defeat to Tottenham at Wembley on October 22.
That embarrassing Wembley humbling has proved a watershed of sorts for Liverpool’s season so far. Their record since then – even after the Swansea defeat – has been simply excellent and provides the perfect example for how to bounce back from their latest setback. Sixteen games played, 11 wins, 4 draws and one defeat translates to a 37 point return (from 48). In that time, they’ve scored 43 goals and let in just 13. The change in their “per game” averages tell quite a story and only one team has a better record in the Premier League over the same time span – runaway champions-elect, Manchester City.
|LIVERPOOL FC 2017/18|
|FPG = Goals Scored per Game|
|CPG = Goals Conceded per Game|
|PPG = Points per Game|
The contrast to the first nine weeks of the season is quite stark. Liverpool won just three of those matches while conceding 16 goals and they were sitting in 9th place – behind Burnley, Watford and Newcastle – after that Spurs defeat.
|October 23rd 2017||January 31st 2018|
|Man City||9||25||Man City||25||68|
|Man Utd||9||20||Man Utd||25||53|
The top four was a long way off at the time. Arsenal, in fifth place, was three points ahead, while Spurs were third, seven points ahead of Liverpool. But Klopp’s team have bounced back in remarkable fashion since then. With 13 matches left to play, they are very well placed for another top four race, and, with only Man City beyond their reach, they could still finish as high as second. It’s a proposition that only the most optimistic of fans would have envisioned on the morning of October 23rd.
|EPL “Big Six” Form Table|
|Since October 23rd 2017||Last 5 PL games|
For that to happen though, they’ll need to match the superb form that has brought them this far. Can Liverpool really post a 2.3 points per game average over the last 13 games? Time will tell, but that would make a remarkable turnaround truly spectacular.
First things first though, and it’s perhaps fitting that their next big test will come against the team that started it all, a newly resurgent Tottenham who will visit Anfield on Sunday.
Victory here would put a tidy bow on this impressive run and go a long way towards banishing that Swansea blot on the copybook.