Swansea City sent shockwaves across England’s top flight when they defied the odds to win 3-2 at Anfield on January 21st. The Reds have picked up just two points from their last three Premier League games – a run that started after their 1-0 victory against Manchester City at the end of December.
However, it would be foolish to suggest that Jurgen Klopp’s men are now out of the title race. Liverpool are currently ten points behind runaway leaders Chelsea with 16 matches remaining and there is still plenty of time for the pendulum to swing back towards Merseyside.
The Reds were well off the pace in that defeat against Swansea and Klopp will need to make sure that his side remain focused after their disappointing run of results. If Liverpool continue to struggle, they will find themselves in a battle for the top four rather than the crown. With fixtures against Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and a trip to City approaching inside the next couple of months, Liverpool will need to be at their brilliant best if they are to keep pace with England’s top sides.
Klopp’s men have had no problem hitting the back of the net this season. In fact, Liverpool are the Premier League’s top scorers with 51 strikes in 22 appearances. Comparatively, league leaders Chelsea have netted 47 whilst Pep Guardiola’s City have managed just 43…
📊|Liverpool have scored the 2nd most amount of goals across Europe’s top five League’s (51), level with Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/dLZnXthInQ
— AnfieldNation (@AnfieldNation) January 23, 2017
Offensively, the Reds are blessed with talent; the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are all capable of turning a game on its head in the blink of an eye. Many believe that Liverpool have missed Sadio Mané, currently in action for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations, in recent weeks but their deficiencies have been at the opposite end of the field.
Simply put, Liverpool have a defensive crisis on their hands. From the Simon Mignolet-Loris Karius debate between the sticks to their lack of competent options at the heart of the back four, Klopp has a real dilemma on his hands.
The Reds have conceded 27 goals so far this season; more than five of the Premier League’s top seven clubs. Until the German has found a reliable central defender, Liverpool will struggle to keep clean sheets and you won’t win many matches if you don’t have a consistent back line.
As of January 23rd, Liverpool have slipped down to fourth in the table but the title is still well within reach if they can regain their best form. The Reds are currently priced at 12/1 with Betway to go on and claim a maiden Premier League success but Klopp’s men will need to up their game in the coming months. Liverpool cannot afford to slip further behind; especially as they play a number of title rivals before the end of March.
Jurgen Klopp has transformed this Reds side from peripheral underachievers into genuine title contenders and Liverpool truly are one of the most exciting sides to watch in England’s top flight. However, their defensive frailties are concerning and it is hard to imagine them going on to lift the crown on current form.
Until Klopp’s side begin to restrict teams to just a handful of chances every game, they will continue to slip up and fall further behind in the race for the Premier League title. It is time for Liverpool’s key figures to step up and be counted…