A closer look at Liverpool’s recent Premier League struggles

PA

Reigning Premier League champions Liverpool have endured a miserable run of form since Christmas, picking up just three points from a possible 15.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have scored only once in those five games and sit six points behind leaders Manchester United following Thursday’s shock home defeat to Burnley.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the Merseyside club’s recent struggles.

Liverpool 1-1 West Brom – December 27

Sam Allardyce arrived at Anfield as the last opposing manger to leave with three Premier League points, having guided former club Crystal Palace to a 2-1 success there in April 2017. He once again proved to be a thorn in the Reds’ side by picking up a first point with his new club West Brom at the expense of the hosts’ 100 per cent top-flight home record. Semi Ajayi’s late equaliser salvaged an unlikely draw for the beleaguered Baggies after Liverpool failed to build on Sadio Mane’s early opener – which remains their most recent league goal.

Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool – December 30

Liverpool were frustrated at St James' Park
Liverpool were frustrated at St James' Park

Liverpool’s last league win was a thumping 7-0 success at Crystal Palace on December 19 after which manager Klopp said: “In Germany we say it’s better you win seven times 1-0 than one time 7-0.” Those comments immediately sprang to mind when the Reds failed to score in a top-flight game for the first time this season following a frustrating stalemate at St James’ Park. The champions ended 2020 only three points clear at the top and having played a game more than Manchester United after Mohamed Salah missed two key opportunities against a lowly Magpies team which has currently gone nine matches without victory in all competitions.

Southampton 1-0 Liverpool – January 4

The Reds headed to St Mary’s having not lost in the Premier League since their shock 7-2 thrashing at Aston Villa exactly three months earlier. On the back of successive draws against struggling opposition, their title defence suffered another significant setback as former striker Danny Ings did the damage by claiming the decisive early goal. Klopp’s men registered 17 attempts at goal but only one was on target as their lack of potency and poor form continued, to the delight of emotional Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United – January 17

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, left, and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were left with a point apiece following a dismal draw at Anfield
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, left, and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were left with a point apiece following a dismal draw at Anfield

Like many games subject to incessant hype, this one spectacularly failed to deliver. Liverpool had a chance to reclaim top spot from their great rivals on goal difference but, in the end, may have been grateful to finish with a point. The hosts, playing with midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as a makeshift defensive partnership, dominated possession. But it was United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left bemoaning a “missed opportunity” after seeing his side carve out the better chances on a fairly-uneventful afternoon.

Liverpool 0-1 Burnley – January 21

🏡 This was Liverpool’s first defeat in 68 #PL matches at Anfield (W55 D13) since April 2017, three years and 273 days ago

It was the second-longest unbeaten home run in English top-flight history, after Chelsea’s 86 games ending in October 2008#LIVBURpic.twitter.com/tguItroBpA

— Premier League (@premierleague) January 21, 2021

Liverpool’s current woes reached a new nadir as their lengthy unbeaten home run was halted by relegation-threatened opposition. Klopp admitted in the aftermath that player confidence has become an issue as a seven-hour goal drought contributed to a major upset. Ashley Barnes’ late penalty ended a remarkable run of 68 home league games without loss for the Reds – stretching back almost four years – while also handing the Clarets Anfield glory for the first time since 1974.

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