But pulling off an encore the next season is something that the best of teams have found difficult to do over the years. The Reds are not in the top three currently after having played 22 matches. The defending champions are currently fourth behind league leaders Manchester City, Manchester United and Leicester City.
On Sunday (Feb 7), Liverpool play an extremely crucial and tough match against current league leaders Manchester City, who are currently 7 points ahead of the Reds, with a game in hand.
⚽️ 𝑺 𝒖 𝒑 𝒆 𝒓 𝒔 𝒕 𝒓 𝒊 𝒌 𝒆 𝒔 ⚽️We’ve netted plenty of memorable finishes against @ManCity 💫 #LIVMCI https://t.co/qu1kXd6Vuf
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 1612640700000
Liverpool’s Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino believes that they are still in contention for the title as ‘nothing is impossible’. Though the 29-year-old striker did admit that they are a bit behind in the race.
“We have to try to aim to win games, to improve, to get the three points so that we’re always up there. We’re a bit behind but nothing is impossible. We have to aim to give our best so that we can get back to the top again and fight for the title,” Firmino said.
Liverpool are trying to get out of a rut at the moment. The Reds have registered just two victories in their last eight league games. In the process, they lost their top position in the Premier League standings and found themselves struggling to be in the title race. During the period they suffered three defeats and three draws, collecting just nine points from the possible 24 on offer.
The Brazilian striker can’t put his finger on exactly what is going wrong for Jurgen Klopp’s team, but said that his team will keep fighting till the end.
⏪ 𝑹𝒆𝒅𝒔 𝒓𝒆𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒅 ⏪Highlights from our clash against @ManCity from 2011, featuring a memorable first Andy Carroll str… https://t.co/0qDE9OatDc
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 1612630980000
“I’m not sure, only God knows. He tells us to cheer up and be courageous, and never get down, and that’s what we have to do, to not get down, to be courageous, and to move forward regardless of the results we get. And to aim to always give our best, this won’t go on forever and this bad period will end,” Firmino, who scored six goals so far in the season, said.
And what is the message from their charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp to the players during this tough phase?
“It’s been really positive, he’s said to never let our heads get down. He’s always motivating us and he knows what we’re capable of, and how far we can go and where we can get to. He’s always being positive,” the striker said of his manager.
The lean run for the defending champions also included a phase in which the free-scoring Liverpool side failed to score a single goal in four consecutive matches. In fact after registering a lop-sided 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace in December last year, they struggled to score freely and managed just seven goals in their last eight games.
“Yes, recently we hadn’t scored many goals, we left something to be desired up front, but this happens, it’s part and parcel of the game. We’ll take positives from the good things we’ve been doing in games and try to improve every day and give our best, always trying to get the three points,” Firmino further said.
A relentless performance from the Reds 🙌⚽️Rewind to brilliant highlights from #LIVMCI in 2019 🗓️ https://t.co/KK4ltyXgoW
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 1612604640000
Firmino, who has been with Liverpool since 2015, said that the current bad form of the team is not due to the fatigue of playing a congested season in these trying times.
“Of course it’s a tough time for everyone…But I’ve never given excuses for what we’ve gone through and I don’t think that this is the reason why things are happening the way they are. It’s just something we’re going through, that’s already coming to an end, and we have to carry on. It’s a tough time for everyone but I don’t see it as an excuse for us,” Firmino said of the fatigue factor.
The striker feels the current lean phase is one of the toughest moments that he has had so far with the club, but with as many as 16 games left to be played the club is definitely not ready to throw in the towel. And Firmino echoed that sentiment.
“The period we’re going through now is tough. We’ve got the choice to throw in the towel and give up or bounce back to where we were. So as you know we’ll never give up, we’ll always fight to get points and to always try to be up there at the top trying to win trophies. We won’t give up, we’ll fight until the end as long as we’ve got a chance and we’re able to,” he said.
Firmino agreed that he and his team missed their loyal fans as they have been playing behind closed doors without spectators for a while now. But also maintained that it can’t be the reason for their bad form.
“I’m not going to say we are dependent on fans, but it makes a big difference to play in front of our fans. The feeling of playing in front of our fans is incredible, and the adrenaline they give us and the atmosphere they create, so there’s no doubt they’re our twelfth man, but as I said before we can’t look for excuses… We’ve already adapted to this. Of course we’re praying for this, we want them. We think this will be over soon and the fans will be back in the stadium to cheer us on and help us on the pitch, and that we can do our part as well,” he said.
On the individual front, Firmino is close to crossing a huge milestone – 200 games for Liverpool. He signed with the Reds in July 2015. Klopp in fact has called Firmino the ‘engine’ that runs Liverpool’s counter-attacking system.
“Yes, I’m really happy and honoured to have reached this milestone, of nearly 200 games wearing Liverpool’s shirt, a great club, and it’s a pleasure, I’m really happy to be here wearing this shirt, with everything I’ve done and we’ve done over the years here. Winning trophies and bringing joy to the fans, and our family especially. And I hope to carry on here, bringing joy to the club, winning trophies and games, and trying to improve every day and being able to help in everything I can with the club,” Firmino who scored the winner for Liverpool in the FIFA Club World Cup final in 2019-20 for Liverpool concluded.
Liverpool host current league leaders Manchester City on Sunday (10pm IST kick-off), and the result can have a big impact on their campaign this season. A defeat will push them 10 points behind City in the title race.
Catch all the live action of Premier League and watch Liverpool vs Manchester City on Sunday (7th February, 2021) at 10 pm IST on Star Sports Select.