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Will seven-goal demolition kick-start Liverpool's season?

Original article published 13 October 2022

Following the emphatic seven-goal victory over Rangers in the midweek Champions League fixture, can Jurgen Klopp's side use the win to kick-start their stuttering start to this season's Premier League?

Liverpool have looked a shadow of their former selves from the beginning of the season and currently sit 10th in the Premier League, nestled between Fulham and Brentford and a whopping 14 points behind league leaders Arsenal.

With only two victories from their opening eight fixtures and without a league win in all of August and October, it has been a surprising decline for last season's beaten Champions League finalists.

It is difficult to pinpoint the root cause of Liverpool's problems this season however and Klopp hasn't appreciated attempts to do so. The German recently lashed out at compatriot and former Liverpool man Dietmar Hamann for suggesting the Anfield side are lacking a 'spark'.

Marquee signing Darwin Nunez has flattered to deceive following his big money summer move from Benfica; a three-match ban for headbutting Joachim Andersen seemed to stifle his progress after he scored two goals in his first two games of the season.

Pundits and fans have also pointed the finger at a number of other areas in the squad as the cause of the slow start: Trent Alexander-Arnold's defensive frailties, a lack of young dynamic centre midfield options, an out-of-sorts Virgil van Dijk and a general lethargy among the squad after a tiring campaign last time out that saw them push hard on all fronts chasing the quadruple.

Star man Mohamed Salah has also struggled for goals so far this campaign with just two from his first eight appearances in the league, but the 'Egyptian King' returned to form with a blistering performance from the bench at Ibrox on Wednesday.

Salah was introduced to the game as a 68th-minute substitute and took just eight minutes to score his first goal. Five minutes later he had completed the fastest hat-trick in Champions League history.

Roberto Firmino, Harvey Elliott and the resurgent Nunez were the other goalscorers in a thrilling second half that saw Liverpool score six and seemingly recapture the elusive spark that has clearly evaded them this season, even if manager Klopp wouldn't agree to that. 

The Reds need to improve their Premier League form fast to avoid being cut adrift in the title chase and indeed the hunt for the Champions League places, they currently sit six points behind fourth placed Chelsea, finishing outside the top four would mark a disastrous season for a side so often competing at the top in recent years.

A revitalised Salah and Nunez may be the catalysts the revive Liverpool's season, even if the defensive frailties continue Klopp's men can rely on their considerable firepower to outscore the opposition to pick up points.

Next up for Liverpool is the small matter of hosting champions Manchester City and dealing with the juggernaut that is Erling Haaland. The thumping win over Rangers could be the spark to kick-start their season, and a win over Pep Guardiola's men would go a long way to confirming that the Reds are truly back.

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