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Aldo's view Liverpool still have one big chance to save their season and they have to take it against Leipzig

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is under pressure to get a positive result against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is under pressure to get a positive result against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is under pressure to get a positive result against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Jurgen Klopp is entering into the unknown in Tuesday night's Champions League clash with RB Leipzig - and it will be uncomfortable territory for him.

Over the last three years, the Liverpool manager has been confident that he can rely on his players to produce a high level of performance every time he sends them into battle, but that guarantee is not there anymore.

The last two months have been hard to explain on so many levels because I can't remember seeing a team going from where they were in December to where they are now.

You see a decline in great teams as key players age, but to see a side that was still producing winning performances consistently just before Christmas collapse as they have done over the last dozen games has been alarming.

This was a team that didn't look like they would lose a game again for most of last season and now they have lost five out of eight Premier League matches and has also gone out of the FA Cup in that run.

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Virgil van Dijk leaves the field with a knee injury after a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford back in October

Virgil van Dijk leaves the field with a knee injury after a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford back in October

Virgil van Dijk leaves the field with a knee injury after a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford back in October

Clearly, the injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have had a massive impact on Liverpool's season and I recall writing in my Independent.ie column back in December and suggesting Klopp was producing minor miracles to keep Liverpool in title contention.

Back then, I was convinced they could not retain the Premier League title unless they bought at least one top defender in the January transfer window and now that prediction has proved to be 100 per-cent accurate.

As we saw once again in the 3-1 defeat at Leicester on Saturday, this Liverpool team are still capable of producing performances that will be good enough to beat high-quality opponents.

Yet they now appear to have a soft centre we didn't see from them for so long, as they went on winning runs that blew their opponents away.

The statistics confirm that Manchester City only have five more points on the board than they had at the same stage of last season, so their improvement is not the reason why they are now certain to take the Premier League trophy away from Liverpool.

Instead, it's the huge decline in the form of the outgoing champions that explains why City are champions-elect, with Liverpool a massive 30 points down on the total they had after 24 games last season.

How can any side have 30-points less than they had a year ago?

It equates to ten defeats, which is an incredible number for a team that proved it was the real deal time and again as they won four big trophies in quick succession.

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Liverpool's Alisson and Ozan Kabak look dejected after Leicester City's Jamie Vardy scores his side's second goal. Photo: Michael Regan/Reuters

Liverpool's Alisson and Ozan Kabak look dejected after Leicester City's Jamie Vardy scores his side's second goal. Photo: Michael Regan/Reuters

Liverpool's Alisson and Ozan Kabak look dejected after Leicester City's Jamie Vardy scores his side's second goal. Photo: Michael Regan/Reuters

I wonder whether any of this would have happened if Van Dijk and Gomez were fit for the entire season, but their absence is not the only problem for Klopp now.

He heads into the first leg of Tuesday night's Champions League tie against RB Leipzig wondering whether his players are capable of picking themselves off the floor and going again.

The defeats against Leicester last weekend and Man City a week earlier were all the more shocking as the late collapse we saw in both matches suggested deeper problems in this team.

Their belief has been shaken, their confidence is shot and when something goes against them, they are struggling to deal with it.

None of us thought we would see it from this Liverpool team led by this brilliant manager, but Klopp and the players now need to respond.

They have to be rocked by the events of the last few weeks, that's natural, but the Champions League is still a prize they can go for and fortunes can turn as quickly as they have fallen.

This Liverpool squad is vastly superior on so many levels than the set of players Rafael Benitez led to improbable Champions League glory in 2005 and Klopp has to try and stay focused on the prize on the horizon.

If Klopp plots a route past a dangerous Leipzig side and gets a decent draw in the quarter-finals, anything is possible.

By the time they get to April, this bizarre dip in form may have been corrected, Klopp may have found some solutions to the problem in his team and they could still have a chance to get through to the Champions League final in Istanbul on May 29th.

It feels unlikely after everything we have seen in the last couple of months, but form is temporary and class is permanent and Klopp needs to remind his players of that before this game in Budapest.

The fact that Leipzig have lost their home advantage due to Covid flight restrictions has to help Liverpool and they have to take advantage of that break to get through to the last eight.

When you look at the problems Barcelona and Real Madrid are having, you would have to say they are not looking like potential European champions.

The Italian sides tend to come up short in the latter stages of the competition and Paris Saint-Germain still have not found a way to get over the finishing line despite spending obscene amounts of money in their pursuit of the big prize.

These Liverpool players know what it takes to win the Champions League and even though they have taken a few counts of eight in the last few weeks, they can still pull themselves off the canvas and come out swinging.

Liverpool still have one big chance to save their season and they have to take it against Leipzig on Tuesday evening.

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