In the wake of their loss to Watford at the weekend, Liverpool were in fairly desperate need of a result against Chelsea in the FA Cup last night – if you spoke to their fans, that is.
Despite the fact that they are strolling towards the Premier League title, there’s still a very real aura of disappointment surrounding the Reds whenever they don’t manage to win a game of football. Thankfully for them, that has been a pretty rare occurrence this season.
At Stamford Bridge, though, everything just seemed to fall apart a bit. Chelsea were first to every ball, they wanted the win more, and they took advantage of a Liverpool team that was quite clearly struggling to bounce back after the Hornets loss.
On a bad streak?
Willian gave the hosts the lead early on after an unfortunate error from Adrian before Ross Barkley scored a rather wonderful goal early in the second half. The game probably shouldn’t have been put beyond the reach of the champions-elect, but it was.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had his say after the match.
“A lot of parts of the performance I really liked. We know we have to improve, it is not about destiny, not about not clicking here or there, it is all about us and we have to take it in the right way.
“It is not the best three weeks of the whole season but it is a chance to make it the best three weeks now and that is the plan.
“We are not interested in Atletico Madrid, it is all about Bournemouth. They are fighting with all they have and they did really well against Chelsea.
“Nobody has to feel sorry for us, we will win football games and that is what we want to do on Saturday.”
While the treble may now be gone, Liverpool have to make sure that they pull themselves together ahead of a pretty huge game against Atletico Madrid next week – as well as the PL game against Bournemouth at the weekend.
One of those weeks
They can probably afford to put most of their attention on retaining the Champions League title, and while very few fans would’ve been upset with them only winning the Premier League at the start of the campaign, the expectations this team has brought upon themselves will ensure some kind of disappointment if they can’t overcome Atletico and progress into the quarter-finals.
A first league title in 30 years will obviously still be the kind of crowning achievement that every single club dreams of, but Jurgen Klopp needs to be smart about the direction they’re heading in.
Chelsea, on the other hand, certainly shouldn’t go without praise. It looks like they may well bow out of the Champions League at the hands of Bayern Munich, but they now find themselves just one win away from a place at Wembley once again.
If Lampard can secure silverware to go alongside a potential spot in the top four, this will be viewed as an incredibly strong first season in charge for the former midfielder.