|WORK TO DO: Jurgen Klopp must fix whatever it is that’s actually broken at Liverpool. AFP/VNA Photo|
High as a kite to down in the dumps in such a short period of time, the wheels are in danger of falling off Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team.
Yes, they may be top of the league but their recent run of form has been more akin to a team fighting a relegation battle than challenging for a second consecutive title.
Four draws against what should have been easy opponents either side of a win at Crystal Palace, followed by a defeat this week at Southampton has given Liverpool supporters serious cause for concern.
So where has it all gone, or rather going, wrong?
You could grasp at straws and say they have been victims of some poor refereeing decisions, and while that may well be the case, it does not hide the fact the team is underperforming.
Yes, injuries have also played their part but it's up front the team has been lacklustre, not in their injury-ravaged defence.
Against Southampton, they managed just one shot on target in 90 minutes. And that was an effort so tame, it hardly troubled the Saints’ stand-in goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Liverpool, it seems to me, are extremely low on confidence, and unless their charismatic manager manages to raise spirits, they can forget about back-to-back titles.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s recent run of good form has put them level on points with Liverpool with a game in hand.
However for me, it won’t be United challenging for Liverpool’s crown, but their Manchester rivals City.
Pep Guardiola’s team are slowly climbing up the league and although they currently sit in fifth place, they are only four points behind Liverpool with not one, but two games in hand.
City are more than capable of continuing their good form and I have no doubt will win those games and soon be sitting top of the league
Now forgive me for sounding like a bitter Liverpool supporter who detests everything Manchester United related (even though I am a bitter Liverpool supporter who detests everything Manchester United related), but I don’t think United are genuine title contenders.
They may have won four out of their last five games but those victories were against far lesser teams. The other game in that run ended in a draw against Leicester City, a team more on par with United.
In the next few months, they have to play Liverpool, Southampton, Everton, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City. The table could look an awful lot different in March than it does right now.
But one thing’s for sure, Liverpool really do need to pull their finger out. Right now, they are a shadow of the team that last season simply steamrolled everyone they faced.
This season has been strange, to say the least, and Liverpool, just like every other team, are missing having supporters at the match.
But as COVID-19 continues to disrupt everyday life in the United Kingdom and shows no signs of relenting, they are just going to have to get used to playing to empty stadiums and do it quickly.
Leagues are not won over the Christmas period, but they certainly can be lost. At the end of the season, Klopp could look back see that this was the period it all went wrong. — VNS