For most fans of England’s current top six clubs, the lack of fixtures against other top six sides at this stage of the season would not only offer relief but also induce belief in their club’s ability to finish the season on a strong note to claim UEFA Champions League football. For Liverpool fans, however, clashes with clubs below the top six has been a somewhat worrying sight since the beginning of 2017.
Liverpool’s draw with Manchester City confirmed their unbeaten record against all of their top-six rivals this season. Their record in such fixtures (five wins and five draws) has been excellent and far greater than those of any of their rivals. The Reds currently lead the mini-league between the top six by some margin.
Two victories over Arsenal, a victory against leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, and Spurs and City at Anfield should certainly suggest positive results in other fixtures.
At the other end of the table, Liverpool’s results have been simply awful. They took nothing away Burnley, Bournemouth, Leicester, or even to Hull, fell in their home clash with Swansea while they also struggled in their 2-1 victory over Burnley, which Klopp described as “ugly.”
The lack of clashes with the rest of the top six for the remainder of the season might have a few Liverpool fans worried. Given Liverpool’s record against the bottom half of the table, further loss of points seem inevitable.
However, the schedules of the Reds’ rivals should suppress fears of Liverpool’s potential finish to the season. Many of their rivals must still play one another, and as at least some will drop points in these clashes, Liverpool’s failure to obtain maximum points in their remaining matches may do little harm.
Arsenal must still face Manchester City, Manchester United, and Spurs and took only two points from nine in their previous meetings with these sides. United’s trip to the Ethiad and fixture with Chelsea will be difficult, especially if a run in the Europa League interferes with domestic performances. Chelsea’s solid home record casts doubts over the prospect of a City win in this fixture.
On paper, Liverpool have a far lighter schedule than their rivals do. Though the Anfield side have struggled in what seem to be easier fixtures, they contain the quality to defeat these sides. No cup football will limit proper preparation for their league fixtures. Despite the implications of Liverpool’s defeats away to Burley and Hull, these factors are significant.