What’s going on at Liverpool? Is Klopp on another club decline?

After Liverpool’s 2nd consecutive home defeat following a 1-0 loss to Brighton through a goal scored by Steven Alzate. The Reds title hopes look to be out of sight with Jurgen Klopp’s side now 7 points off of the league leaders Manchester City, who still have a game in hand over all the teams currently sitting in the top 5.

This season it looks as if Liverpool can’t maintain the killer instinct that they have shown in the previous two seasons, only managing to be beaten four times in their previous 76 Premier League games, which are the same number of defeats they currently have already this season in 22 games. Klopp commented on Liverpool’s struggle after the Brighton defeat describing the team as ‘mentally fatigued’ and not being ‘fresh mentally and physically’ this season. And with the tight congestion of fixtures that would be a fair point, but it isn’t the first time this squad has had to deal with a packed fixture list, with the club last season winning the league despite playing 57 games across 8 competitions including the midseason Club World Cup.

The shock of a second home defeat must raise concerns to most Liverpool fans who have seemed to have lost their fortress in Anfield, after a 68 game streak without a home defeat. The defeat must come as a surprise that they have failed to score in both losing to Burnley and Brighton, with the two teams considered to be in the current relegation battle.

But with the recent run of form, there is no surprise that they have eventually lost their home form, with the Reds having a decline in both attacking and defensive numbers. The reason for the decline can put down to many things, with Liverpool having their highest goals conceded per game percentage in last four seasons, conceding 25 in 22 games (1.14 goals conceded per game).  The fall in the defence could be down to the defensive injuries they’ve suffered throughout the season losing Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip, and the pairing of Henderson and Fabinho.

The issues in defence don’t just stand-alone; they aren’t helped by the apparent drop in the goals per game percentage, currently standing at 1.95 goals per game, a significant drop from the past two seasons being 2.28 in 2018/19 and 2.24 in 2019/20. The drop in goals can also be matched to the lack of form shown by some of Liverpool’s main goal threats with Mane goals per game percentage continuing to decline from the 2018/19 season, where he was able to score 0.61 goals per game to now having a low of 0.37 goals per game.

Trent Alexander-Arnold is another player that has seen a significant drop in form and with his goal threat that he has previously added to the squad, with the right-back known for his crossing ability and distribution adding 25 assists in 67 games over the past two seasons. But his output has had a rapid decline, in the 2018/19 season he had a percentage of 0.41 assists per game and 2019/20, he once again declined averaging a 0.34 assist per game percentage, which differs heavily to this season drop of 0.15 assists per game.

Despite this seasons struggle and embarrassment of results like the 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa and the loss of their home record, they have continued to see an improvement in Mo Salah, who is currently averaging his highest goal-scoring percentages in the past three seasons averaging 0.68 goals per game. There are clear indications that both Klopp and the Reds are relying heavily on the Egyptian, as there leading goalscorer scoring a third of their goals (15) and without him, they could be in serious trouble.

 

Are Liverpool following Klopp’s managerial trend?

With describing his Liverpool team to be running out of steam, it could bring a huge amount of concern to many Liverpool fans, as this wouldn’t be the first example of Klopp taking a team to the top of their game and then having a drastic fall back down.

This rise and fall can also be shown with Klopp’s time in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, with Klopp joining the club in 2008, taking the side from 6th place to winning the Bundesliga twice in a row before seeing the club drop off after finishing 2nd in the Champions League back in 2012. Klopp finished his time at Dortmund after two consecutive 2nd place spots, and eventually finishing 7th in the league in his final year at the club stating that he was ‘no longer the right man for the club’.

The rise and fall of clubs under the leadership of Klopp should come as a major worry to Liverpool fans as the same can be shown right now. When Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015, he finished in a low 8th place, finishing behind West Ham. In the next few seasons, fans across the world saw a drastic improvement of Liverpool, with the club showing their quality in European competitions, reaching the final of the Europa League in 2016/17 losing to Sevilla.  And the following year being able to reach the Champions League final in 2017/18, losing 3-1 to Real Madrid, with this period being similar to the growth Klopp was able to have at Dortmund.

The following two seasons at Liverpool where they were able to dominate the Premier League finishing second in 2018/19, behind a Manchester City that reached 100 points, and in the same season winning the Champions League. And following that season with a title win, winning the league by 18 points, it can be closely compared to Klopp’s consecutive Bundesliga wins that could bring the decline which we are already seeing evidence of with the team’s stats already dropping this season.

The issue comes with Klopp’s intense style of play, with the attitude being based on a high tempo press and constant counter-attacking football that doesn’t allow both his team and the opposition to slow. With a high volume of games and competitions expected to play there is no surprise that there is a drop off in form, but raises huge concern with teams like Everton, Spurs, West Ham closely behind in the race for European places.

Twitter @MulliganAlfie

featured image credit sky sports