Liverpool's quest for a first-ever Premier League title is back on track after a 2-1 win over AFC Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday, with goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané enough to complete a comeback after Callum Wilson's early goal for the Cherries. Liverpool did just enough to beat a relegation candidate and are now just three wins away from the championship, but the lackluster manner of their victory raises some doubt ahead of the biggest game of their season so far.
The Reds welcome Atlético Madrid to Anfield on Wednesday for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 matchup, and after a 1-0 loss in Madrid, the defending European champions have to win by two goals to qualify. Liverpool's dominance at home under Jürgen Klopp suggests they aren't in that much trouble, but the recent weeks do call into question whether or not Liverpool have enough to beat Diego Simeone's team.
The loss against Atlético three weeks ago was the first sign that something was wrong with Liverpool: the team conceded a careless set piece goal, while also struggling to attack and create chances despite dominating possession for nearly 80 minutes. The subsequent 3-2 win against West Ham in the Premier League showed similar defensive issues, and ultimately required a few lucky breaks to bag the winning goals.
Next came the two big defeats to Watford in the Premier League and to Chelsea in the FA Cup, in which the Reds allowed five goals despite having their best defenders on the pitch and scored none with their best attackers available and playing. The performance against Bournemouth was just good enough to beat a bad team.
And that's what's worrying: Liverpool haven't played better than "just good enough" in almost two months, which should be a red flag for Klopp. Being just good enough against Bournemouth is fine, but they must raise their level against Atlético.
But here's what makes this Liverpool team truly great: They are so confident they can win against any team, that even bad performances don't bother the squad. It's a team that knows it's going to win the game eventually, and that's the attitude they'll take into Wednesday night. Attitude and confidence are one thing, but performance and production against a tactically disciplined Atleti side is quite another.