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Liverpool should take encouragement from '05 as bookies back Euro fight

It's no secret that Liverpool's domestic form has plummeted to its lowest ebb since Jürgen Klopp arrived at Anfield back in October 2015. The Reds recently endured their sixth Premier League defeat of the year to cross town rivals Everton at the weekend.

 

It has left the title race well out of reach, with Liverpool more realistically looking to challenge for a top four spot in the Premier League and ensuring Champions League football continues to be a feature of the Anfield fixture list next season. 

 

Despite enduring difficult times at home, many bookmakers around the world are currently slashing the odds on a Liverpool final finish in the Champions League. Australian betting sites among others currently have the highest odds on Liverpool as one of the top favourites to make a third final appearance in four years.

 

The Reds reversed their current fortune by romping to a standout victory against RB Leipzig in the first round of 16 tie last week in what was a standout performance reminiscent of better times. It has led many betting sites to slash their odds on favouring Liverpool to make a mark in this season's competition.

 

Currently Liverpool are both among the four favourites to make it to the Champions League final at around 4/1, and slightly elevated price of 7/1 to go all the way and win the tournament for a seventh time in their history.

 

In fact Jürgen Klopp need not cast his eyes too far back into the club's history and should take the famous 2005 season as distinctive encouragement for his team to boost his European campaign. 

 

Few Liverpool fans will need reminding of what took place on that balmy night in Istanbul back in May 2005, as Liverpool overcame the odds to register a fifth European Cup to their name in 21 years of waiting.

 

Benitez's soon-to-be champions of Europe didn't fare well in their domestic campaign that season either. It went awry fairly quickly for the Reds in the Premier League, succumbing to defeats to Bolton Wanderers, Manchester United and Chelsea in the opening weeks. 

 

Patchy form throughout the campaign ensured Liverpool never managed to raise themselves above fifth position all season. On top of troubled times in the league, Liverpool went out of the FA Cup at the first instance, succumbing to defeat against Burnley in the third round of the competition.

 

Ring any bells? Liverpool's domestic campaign may not have won many plaudits, but it led to a firm focus on European affairs that saw Benitez and his boys etching their name on club football's highest honour by the end of the season.

 

This current incarnation of Liverpool has experienced a different trajectory it's true. Injuries have ravaged the side leading to them slipping down the table dramatical. The defensive line has been hit particularly hard and has seen Klopp's side spiral from a seemingly successful Premier League title defence to rank outsiders. 

 

Like Benitez, Klopp has already admitted defeat in the Premier League. However, his side is still packed with talent, and more importantly, talent that has distinctive European experience. Many members of the current squad are veterans of two European finals and have the nouse to know what it takes to go all the way.

 

The latest effort away to Leipzig will certainly spur the side with encouragement. Cup competitions are notoriously unpredictable, but if Klopp and his side can sharpen their gaze on European affairs it could well and truly turn the season around. 


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