Although this season is not the one that Premier League champion Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool dreamed of and 25 points from the current leader, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, there are several reasons why the ‘reds’ feel much more optimistic than a few weeks ago now that on Tuesday they face the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals at Real Madrid.
That optimism was fueled on Saturday by Saturday’s 3-0 win against Arsenal, with a double from Diogo Jota and a goal from Mohamed Salah. Liverpool is currently 5th in the Premier League, 2 points behind Chelsea and the Champions zone. Dream again of finishing in the top 4.
Factor Diogo Jota
As already happened when he signed in the summer market and before injuring himself, Diogo Jota is a shock for Liverpool. Against Arsenal the Portuguese entered in 61 ‘for Andy Robertson and in 64’ he scored the first of his 2 goals. Jota catapulted the ‘reds’, as he did before the illness he suffered in December. Which reiterates that injuries have been key for Liverpool to fail in the defense of the Premier and not only those of the defensive line. Jota reappeared on March 4 in the defeat against Chelsea (0-1) and against Wolves he gave the victory to the ‘reds’ with his goal (0-1). He scored 3 ‘targets’ with Portugal in 2 games.
Liverpool began to look much more like Liverpool when Fabinho was able to move to the middle instead of acting, due to injuries, in the axis of defense. The Brazilian midfielder, who has returned his identity to his team, showed on Saturday how key he is for the ‘red’ team, for how he prevailed in the middle, for his positional play, even for how his pass launched Salah in the goal from the Egyptian winger.
The defense gains strength
The defense has been, since Virgil van Dijk’s injury started Liverpool’s ordeal, continuing with the ailments of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip or later Jordan Henderson (who was acting in the rear), the big problem for Klopp’s team in this season. Now, step by step, and supported by Fabinho’s return to the media, the ‘red’ rear gains solidity and confidence with the Ozan Kabak-Nat Phillips couple and their great challenge will be to face the offensive danger posed by Real Madrid. Said duo between the Turkish defender and the Englishman has played 3 games in a row without conceding a goal.