Liverpool host Aston Villa in the Premier League today. The defending champions reign will end with runaway leaders Manchester City already mathematically too far ahead to catch, but there remains plenty to play for before this campaign is up.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are right in the thick of the race for Europe with a place in next year’s Champions League far from a certainty after a poor run of form. The win over Arsenal last weekend provided some relief but there is more work to be done if the Reds are to make it back to European football’s premier competition next term.
Villa served up the shock of the season in the reverse fixture, thrashing today’s hosts 7-2 at Villa Park back in October. While hopes of a repeat performance may be outlandish for Dean Smith’s men, they will be buoyed by Liverpool’s wretched home form – Klopp’s team have lost their last six matches at Anfield – with the manager himself believing a lack of fans is the primary cause.
“One of the main reasons is there’s no crowd in, there’s no doubt about that,” Klopp said ahead of the game. “A lot of teams have that problem. Apart from that the reason why we didn’t win home games is we didn’t play well enough, not in all of them. There were some home games when we lost where I thought in other times even without crowd, we would or should have won this game for sure but we didn’t.
“Now we have a losing streak of four home games? Six home games in a row – wow! That’s long. We have to change. But it’s not how can I change that in training or whatever, we have to bring ourselves in the right mindset. For a long time, nobody could really explain why we were are so strong at home, at least results-wise, now this is not easy to explain but the main reason why we are not exactly the same is we miss our supporters.
“That’s how it is but that is not to change. We have played very good games without supporters at home and that’s what we have to do now. We want to squeeze out of the season whatever we can get.”
Follow all of the action from Anfield following the conclusion of Manchester City vs Leeds: