Liverpool are nearing the unprecedented feat of winning the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup in one season – but many challenges await
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Only 16 games apart Liverpool a feat unmatched by any other club in Europe’s top five leagues.
Win them all and Jurgen Klopps Stars will end the season with four Victor’s Medals around their necks after they are added Champions League, First League and FA Cup to the League Cup You won with a Penalty shootout victory above Chelsea in February. Astonishingly, the Reds have closed a seemingly uncatchable deficit of 14 points Manchester City sit just one point behind at the top of the table.
On the European stage, they were presented with what appears to be one on paper favorable quarterfinal draw against the Portuguese club Benfica, boosting Anfield faithful’ hopes of winning four major honours. On the FA Cup front, things appear less favorable than Liverpool must defeat City if they want to reach the final.
Such is the anticipation of Liverpool fans that ending the season with anything other than three or four trophies can be viewed as a disappointment. However, Klopp has repeatedly downplayed these ambitions As he knows, it will take his team an absolutely flawless run-in to accomplish the unimaginable.
Without further ado, here are four things that could make or break Liverpool’s quadruple quest success.
Here’s to you, Mo and Co.
Winning numerous honors in the same season requires squad unity and a mammoth collective effort, but the feat has eluded the greatest English teams ever assembled. The legendary Sir Alex Ferguson led Manchester United in the 1998/99 season in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup, but were eliminated from the League Cup in the quarter-finals. 15 years earlier, the mighty Liverpool side won a slightly less prestigious treble of the First Division, European Cup and League Cup in the early 80s after exiting the FA Cup in the fourth round.
From this we can see that it takes a wonderful effort to surpass the achievements of past dynasties and earn all four major honors available in a single season. To that end, the Reds will need their world-class players to perform at their peak throughout the run-in. Mohamed Salah has played at the highest level with a staggering 28 goals in 16 games throughout the season, while Diogo Jota has netted 19 career-best goals.
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In defence, Virgil van Dijk looks back on his most dominant form after fully recovering from his anterior cruciate ligament injury last season and being named Man of the Match in the Carabao Cup final. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have always been dangerous on the flanks and lead the Premier League with 11 and 10 assists respectively.
The focus is on Liverpool’s other elite players to ensure they produce week after week like Salah, Jota, Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold and Robertson. Sadio Mane, for example, will be disappointed with his return of 12 goals this season and Thiago has often been left out of the starting XI. The latter must appropriate a place in midfield by imposing his authority on games, just as he did during Bayern Munch’s 2019/20 triple season.
Simply put, Liverpool are blessed with many players who are considered the best in the world for their position. They have to prove why by the end of May if the Reds want to make history.
Klopp’s lineup dilemmas
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Joel Matip or Ibrahima Konate? Which midfield threesome? Should Luis Diaz have more starts in attack? These are just some of the selection decisions Klopp faces each matchday as he strives to pick a side that complements his core group of world-class players.
Throughout the season we’ve seen Matip and Konate share minutes partnering Van Dijk since a variety of midfield lineups and Diaz appeared on the scene his arrival in January. It’s likely Klopp will need every single member of his squad to be promoted at some point over the next few months as a game plan that could do so is being tested require them to play nine times in April.
The Liverpool boss will be reluctant to upset the balance in a squad that has won nine straight league games, but he knows rotation is a necessity to avoid burnout. He’ll have to juggle his options with judgment as the Reds are still fighting for three more trophies as of mid-March in their first season since taking office in 2015.
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The sky blue elephant in the room
There’s no escaping the fact that Manchester City pose the biggest threat to Liverpool’s unlikely chances of lifting four trophies this season. Many regard the two English giants as the top two sides in the world and they are guaranteed to meet at least twice more this season, with their FA Cup semi-final coming immediately after a Premier League clash in mid-April.
With the Reds just a point behind the leaders ahead of next month’s high-profile clash, their fate remains in their own hands, but a defeat at the Etihad could prove fatal to their title and quadruple hopes. Furthermore, it would only take a superb performance from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and a tactical masterclass from Pep Guardiola to eliminate the Reds from the FA Cup within 90 minutes of Wembley.
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Add to the equation the prospect of Liverpool set to face City again – this time in the Champions League final – and the magnitude of the task facing Klopp and his players becomes clear. The two teams were drawn on opposite sides Liverpool’s prospective reward for beating Benfica and then Bayern Munich or Villarreal would be a Stade de France showdown with City as long as they beat Atletico Madrid and then either Chelsea or real Madrid.
The Sky Blues allowed the Merseysiders to close the gap at the top of the table lost two points against crystal palace last week, their quality should not be underestimated. City have the best defensive record of any team in Europe’s top five leagues, conceding 18 goals in 29 games, and their array of attacking talent is stunning.
Navigate through the derbies
As previously mentioned, Liverpool’s April fixture list makes alarming reading and there is a 15-day stretch that stands out. Between the 10th and 15th, the Reds have to face City twice, travel to Manchester United and host everton while also struggling against Benfica with their second quarterfinal game.
United and Everton have struggled immensely this season but as the old saying goes, form has a habit of going out the window on derby days. Liverpool’s two sworn enemies would love nothing more than to dent their quadruple hopes, so you can guarantee they’ll do well.
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While Liverpool v City isn’t traditionally viewed as a derby, there’s no denying that the rivalry between the two clubs has escalated during their domestic dominance in recent years, adding to the emotions of a grueling run for the Reds. A positive result in the first leg against Benfica on April 5, played away, could be imperative for Liverpool.
This would allow Klopp to rest the players eight days later in the second leg, which lies between the Premier League trip to City and the FA Cup clash with the same opponents. One thing is for sure, April’s hugely challenging run will play a big part in defining Liverpool’s season.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/liverpool-quadruple-premier-champions-league-26529128 Liverpool quadruple: Four things the Reds need to vote for to make football history