By Monday morning, Liverpool fans will be able to reflect on an excellent few days or yet another wasted season.
Since the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona in 2014, expectations on Merseyside have significantly decreased. No matter what any Liverpool fan tells you, we all know that fourth is a tough ask and winning a trophy is just as daunting.
Even with Jurgen Klopp at the helm now, this season may be over within the next four days.
Liverpool face a tough task: play Augsburg tonight at Anfield, with a win a must to ensure passage to the next round of the Europa League, and then travel to Wembley on Sunday to contest the Capital One Cup with Manchester City.
These results will define the season.
Thursday: Liverpool v Augsburg
Whatever was the case before, any club would want to win the Europa League. As well as an over-sized trophy waiting for you on the podium, a place in next year’s Champions League is also on offer.
It is nothing to scoff at and for Liverpool, who are struggling in the league for consistency and currently sit eighth and nine points off fourth spot, it is the best way to try and force themselves back onto Europe’s biggest stage.
Klopp’s arrival will hopefully be a pivotal moment in Liverpool’s history. Reds’ supporters will be praying his capture will represent the beginning of the return to winning titles and trophies, but the German’s job would be made so much easier if Liverpool won the Europa League.
Big players are needed at Liverpool all across the pitch and big players want European football. For the top brass, Europa League just does not cut it.
Winning tonight is a priority in terms of Liverpool’s campaign, it is just so unfortunate it comes just four days before the season’s equally crucial game.
Sunday: Liverpool v Manchester City
With the first major silverware of the season up for grabs and Liverpool already out of the FA Cup, nothing welcomes a new era like a trophy in the cabinet.
Klopp does not need to win on Sunday, but everyone wants him to. Otherwise what will this season be seen as? A pass for the German, considering Brendan Rodgers was still in charge in October?
For many Liverpool supporters, myself included, this cup is all we have left of this term. It has been great having Klopp come in and give us entertainment, but his players have also given some pretty poor performances. It has not been the total transformation everyone was dreaming of.Embed from Getty Images
And of course that has to do with the players. Klopp is expected to make changes when the transfer window officially re-opens in July and has already begun to try and address the shambles at the back with the announcement that Schalke defender Joel Matip will join in the summer.
But Liverpool can usher in a new wave of confidence and optimism if they win on Sunday and it will strike off the possibility of Merseysiders thinking ‘oh well there’s another season down the drain then’.
No one wants to be Klopp right now. Two games in four days of equal importance and Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana are all out with key figures Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho only just back from hamstring problems.
What team does he pick? Does he go full throttle or does he risk one over the other. Most people would be hoping that the Reds can easily brush aside Augsburg tonight, but they have failed to do that in their last two appearances at the this stage of the competition, losing to Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2013 and going out on penalties last year to Besiktas.Embed from Getty Images
Klopp has said he will risk both Sturridge and Coutinho in both games and he will be praying that with an hour gone tonight he can haul the two star men off with the game safe.
You can understand his thinking. The two footballers are by far Liverpool’s best players and when they play, the Reds are able to move from a mid-table team to possible top four contenders. What does it matter if come Monday they are injured for the season? There will not be anything to play for anyway if Liverpool lose both games.
1-0 v Ausburg
1-1 v Manchester City (Liverpool win on penalties AET)