Liverpool have succumbed a tough start to 2017 but a top-four finish is still a realistic possibility for the Reds.

The reasons below show why the Anfield giants can finish in top four this season.

Sadio Mane’s return

The Senegalese return to Anfield is a welcome news for Reds manager Jurgen Klopp. The midfielder has been absent for Liverpool at the Africa Cup of Nations over the past few weeks. The former Southampton midfielder has seen the net nine times and registered four assists in his opening 19 games in the Premier League before he headed off to the AFCON.

One cannot deny the Reds lack pace during Mane’s absence in the squad, making it difficult for Liverpool to navigate a way past oppositions defences, with Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho not among players to break the gain line. Getting Mane back to his best performance after the AFCON will be key to Liverpool’s hopes of top four finish.

Missing Joel Matip

Here’s another Liverpool African player that has been a big miss. During the festive period, Joel Matip has been struggling with fitness and administration problems before his return to the Reds starting line-up for their 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

His absence resulted into Reds lack of consistency and understanding at the back, which perhaps also explains their lack of cohesion when it comes to defending set-pieces. Hopefully a consistent run in the Liverpool starting line-up can help improve their defensive record in the final months of the season.

Next Fixtures

While they’ve struggled at home over the past two months following deadlocks with West Ham United and Chelsea and huge loss to Swansea City, Klopp will be hoping his side advantage can prove decisive when they host some of their big top-four rivals

The 49-year-old former Borussia Dortmund manager has sealed a great record against Liverpool’s biggest rivals. With that in mind, home games against the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs give the Klopp’s team the chance to make some serious progress in quest to secure a long-awaited return to the Champions League.