What constitutes success for Liverpool during this absolute freak of a season?

Anfield Central editor Michael Mongie is genuinely unsure if Liverpool can achieve anything remotely close to what would normally be considered success this season.

The dreamer in me is hopeful that Liverpool can pull off the unthinkable again in the UEFA Champions League this season.

The Reds have one foot in the quarter-finals after beating RB Leipzig 0-2 in the first leg but the more pragmatic part of my brain is reminding me that Liverpool have already conceded 34 goals in the Premier League this season are now on their 18th centre-back pairing.

In a competition like the CL where defensive resilience is so important, it seems highly unlikely that a seventh European trophy will be making its way to Anfield this term.

Liverpool’s English midfielder James Milner (L) and Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson hold the European Champion Clubs’ Cup trophy during an open-top bus parade around Liverpool, north-west England on June 2, 2019, after winning the UEFA Champions League final. PHOTO BY OLI SCARFF/AFP/GETTY IMAGES.

Of course, any season which sees Europe’s most coveted trophy won is automatically a success regardless of what came before. If the Jürgen Klopp’s men miraculously beat the likes of PSG, Man City and Bayern Munich to Ol’ Big Ears, this season would no doubt go in history.

However, most fans right now are more concerned with whether or not the Merseysiders will be able to challenge for next season’s Champions League title as they currently sit two points outside the top four.

Chelsea and West Ham sit above the Premier League champions, with the former visiting Anfield on Thursday and the latter hosting a tricky Leeds United outfit at the London Stadium on Monday.

If results go Liverpool’s way, they could find themselves back in the comfort of the top four but with 12 games to go and with Everton level on points and yet to play their game in hand, there are likely to be more twists in the race for Champions League football.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: Roberto Firminho of Liverpool celebrates after scoring their side’s second goal during the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Liverpool at Bramall Lane on February 28, 2021 in Sheffield, England. PHOTO BY LEE SMITH – POOL/GETTY IMAGES.

Liverpool are fresh off a 2-0 win over Sheffield United which was surprisingly full of positives – most notably their first Premier League clean sheet for 73 days.

The game featured an interesting switch to a 3-2-5 formation which saw Trent Alexander-Arnold playing as an auxiliary centre-half and while it’s too early to say if it will yield continued results, its debut was a promising one.

Even if it came against a Sheffield United that, going into the clash with Liverpool, had lost 20 out of 25 games the league this season. It was, in fact, the perfect game for Klopp and his coaching staff to test out a new system.

When Liverpool face Chelsea on Thursday evening, it will essentially be the acid test for the system but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Reds switch to something a little more familiar.

KIRKBY, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 05: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool during a training session at AXA Training Centre on February 05, 2021 in Kirkby, England. PHOTO BY ANDREW POWELL/LIVERPOOL FC VIA GETTY IMAGES.

I think I speak for all Liverpool fans when I say that after all the injuries and setbacks, this season is no longer about success but rather about sustainability.

Supporters have grand visions for the club, involving signing the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland but neither of these über talented forwards will want to play in the Europa League or at a club without European football at all.

Jürgen Klopp is a talented salesman but even he would struggle to pitch a move to Liverpool without the allure of playing under the lights at Anfield against Europe’s best.

Michael Mongie
Football Central Media Group founder, owner and editor.

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