Liverpool have dropped points in three of their last four games in the Premier League and it is safe to conclude that the Reds are already getting worn out in the dying stages of the league
Chelsea, meanwhile, have
scented blood and started to show some good form. A meeting between the two at Stamford Bridge on Sunday has more riding on it than seemed likely weeks ago.
tiring, there's no doubt about it. As each game is reaching its final 15 minutes, the team is fading rapidly every time.
It wasn't too apparent in the last league encounter against Stoke because Paul Lambert's side were
intent on grabbing a draw, yet even they might have snatched an unlikely winner near the end.
Liverpool would be the best team in the world if football matches lasted 75 minutes. Sadly for them
Looking at the bench of a club about to reach the Champions League final was an embarrassment. There have been some injuries of course, but even at full strength, Liverpool can't summon up the talent and ingenuity big clubs sometimes need late in games.
Their Sunday opponents called on Pedro, Willian and Alvaro Morata in their last league win against Swansea -- players who arguably should be in the first team anyway.
The Londoners have suffered from their usual post-title season slump, despite having great players and one of the world's top coaches.
They're still perfectly capable of taking the race for fourth place to the wire though
and indeed are favourites
to do so given Liverpool's fitness problems and European responsibilities.
Stamford Bridge has been a lucky ground for the Reds of late. They've certainly won there more than they've lost.
The Reds needed to win but eventually lost 2-1. For those Liverpool fans who remember such things, the current stumble sends a shiver down the spine.
In 2000, Gerard Houllier's team turned a Champions League qualification certainty into abject failure in their last five games, one of which was yet another humbling trip to Stamford Bridge.
This year the dropped league points make a bit more sense. This is more like 2005 and 2007 when Rafa Benitez rested nearly all of his first team for upcoming Champions League matches which eventually saw Liverpool win in Istanbul but lose in Athens.
Klopp hasn't had the luxury of resting many, with fourth still not clinched, but he may gamble on the luxury of a final home game with Brighton to help win the necessary points.
The south coast club are
safe after their 1-0 win against Manchester United on Friday but looked a tough proposition. Liverpool will take any favours
while doing their usual trick of making an apparently safe situation completely fraught.
This has been a very good season overall and may still have a glorious end, although Real Madrid must be favourites
for the final.
What has happened in the run-in with injuries, tiredness and a weak squad overall may act as the wake-up call everyone at the club needs.
the points to keep in the hunt for fourth place and will want to avenge their two home defeats against Klopp in the previous two seasons.
One of those was an unlikely 3-1 win which served as Klopp's first big win as Liverpool manager. Given his squad at the time and the position Liverpool found themselves in under Brendan Rodgers, he can claim to have moved the club forward in a significant way.
The remaining few weeks will be vital in determining from
what standpoint Liverpool attempt to advance further next season.