After winning their first league title in thirty years, it’s fair to say the current season has been a bit of a nightmare for Liverpool. Their campaign has been littered with injuries, marred by a defensive crisis and a lack of goals in key games, and a few horrific results including a 7-2 mauling by Aston Villa – the first time Liverpool had conceded seven goals since 1963 – and a first home defeat in over twenty years to local rivals Everton. Some have said Liverpool’s title defence is the worst ever, and while it’s not quite that dramatic, it really does feel like a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show.

Of course, there have been mitigating factors. Those injuries have included key players such as Virgil van Dijk, and these have not helped. And neither will recent off-the-field issues affecting manager Jürgen Klopp and goalkeeper Allison. But Liverpool’s form has been inconsistent and has left them off the pace, and outside of the Champions League places. Leading online bookmaker predict that Liverpool will fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

But there is still time, though their remaining league fixtures aren’t the most appetising for an out-of-form team. Liverpool’s run-in is made up of games against teams that are – in the main – in-form, or enjoying decent seasons.

Though it is looking like Champions League qualification through finishing in the top four is a long shot, Liverpool are still in this season’s competition, and it may be here where their best chance of making next season’s tournament lie. But of course, this will mean them winning the thing.

Next week, Liverpool face Red Bull Leipzig at Anfield in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie, 2-0 up from the first leg. It would be fair to say that Liverpool will be expecting to progress to the last eight.

However, there are some very good sides left in the tournament.

Manchester City are totally dominant of late, and Pep Guardiola will be hungry to lead them to their first ever Champions League triumph. Paris Saint Germain are 4-1 up from the first leg of their tie with Barcelona, and will be desperate to progress. Juventus are still in the hunt despite losing to Porto in the first leg of their tie. It’s not been the best of seasons for Borussia Dortmund, but they’re still in there, as are Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich who trounced Lazio 4-1 last week.

Liverpool will be hoping that the draw is kind to them and that their recent Champions League experiences will hold them in good stead. Because anything less than success will probably see them miss out on the Champions League for the first time in five years.