With 11 games left of the 2020/21 Premier League season, the fact that reigning champions, Liverpool, are still languishing in seventh place is quite remarkable.
The Reds prior to this season’s slump had been like a well-oiled machine. A juggernaut crushing all before them.
Once that tough exterior was penetrated, however, they’ve never been quite the same.
Injuries to key players have to be taken into account of course. Any team, anywhere in the world, would have suffered to some degree with the amount of absences that Liverpool have had to contend with.
That said, Jurgen Klopp still has more than enough high quality exponents to make a difference. The fact is that they have woefully underperformed, and with confidence shot to pieces, frankly, they look ordinary.
The worry for the club must now be the very real possibility of not qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
With fixtures against Man United, Leeds United, Arsenal, Wolves, West Brom and Burnley all to come away from home, they don’t have the easiest run in.
Home fixtures – Fulham, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Southampton and Crystal Palace – which would normally be a guarantee of three points, will be anything but at this stage.
At present, Liverpool are seven points away from a guaranteed Champions League finish, and four from the need to qualify.
Neither are insurmountable but all of the teams above them are in much better form.
Klopp has shown beyond doubt that he’s the man for the job, but the biggest challenge of his career is right in front of him.
There’s no more room for error.