It’s only March, yet Liverpool’s defence of their first Premier League title lies in tatters. Instead, Manchester City have one hand on regaining their crown from its brief spell on display in Anfield’s trophy cabinet. It’s certainly not what the Liverpool fans would have wanted, and the way they conceded their title has left much to be desired.
Jürgen Klopp’s men have been in freefall since the festive period and as a result they have slipped down to eighth in the table. They now lag some 25 points behind Manchester City at the top and have even been cut seven points adrift from the top four (stats correct at the time of writing).
With no FA Cup or Carabao Cup run worth noting, the Champions League remains Liverpool’s last hope of silverware. Given the Reds’ run domestically, it’s no surprise that Man City, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are much more fancied sides in the Champions League betting at Betfair Exchange.
But that hasn’t stopped the Liverpool faithful from retaining a glimmer of hope that they could still lift the big-eared trophy for the seventh time come mid-May. When the Reds booked their place in the quarter-finals last week, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher claimed he has a good feeling that the Anfield outfit will lift the European title this year.
Some would think that Carragher is crazy for making such a bold claim, especially when you consider that last year’s finalists, PSG and Bayern Munich, are still going strong. However, there are several good omens in Liverpool’s favour, and there is reason to believe that history could be repeating itself for the Reds’.
So, let’s look at some of the comparisons we can draw between this season and when Liverpool won their fifth title in 2005…
Liverpool beat a German side in the round of 16
En route to glory 16 years ago, the Reds faced Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16. Liverpool, managed by Rafael Benítez, beat the Bundesliga side 3-1 home and away to win 6-2 on aggregate and book their place in the quarter-finals. This year, the Reds beat Leverkusen’s German counterparts RB Leipzig 2-0 in both the ‘home’ and ‘away’ legs. Coincidence? Maybe.
The last time Everton finished in the top four
Ok, so you’re still not convinced. Well, how about this. The last time Everton finished in the top four was in 2005, and who went on to win the Champions League? Liverpool. The Toffees aren’t in the top four at the time of writing, but they are certainly competing for a spot and could very well end the season amongst the Champions League places.
Liverpool didn’t finish in the top four
Whilst Everton nabbed a top four spot in 2005, Liverpool missed out on a lucrative place in Europe’s elite competition. The Reds had to settle for fifth place, three points behind their cross-city rivals in fourth. The more games that pass Liverpool by this campaign, the more the chances of them finishing in the top four dwindle, and their hopes of playing in the Champions League next season could rely on them winning the competition in May.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo knocked out in the round of 16
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo failed in their pursuits of helping Barcelona and Juventus challenge for the Champions League this season, and they both crashed out in the round of 16 respectively. Amazingly, the last time the duo failed to get passed the first knockout stage was in 2005. Barcelona were beaten by Chelsea, whilst Manchester United were knocked out by finalists AC Milan.
Final in Istanbul
If you needed any more convincing, then how about the final taking place at the same stadium this year as it did in 2005 – the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in İstanbul. Of course, we all know what happened on that famous night against Milan 16 years ago, but can Liverpool find the inspiration to do the same this time around? We’ll just have to wait and see!