What has happened to Liverpool?

What has happened to Liverpool? 

Defeat to Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup was hot on the heels of a shock home loss to Burnley in the league, rounding up a miserable week for the Reds. 

To be fair, the loss to United was not much of an upset, but the result against Burnley was totally unexpected. 

Liverpool had been unbeaten in their previous 68 home league matches, but their Anfield fortress was finally breached, as Burnley produced a typically robust performance to stun the Premier League champions on Merseyside. 

Burnley had actually taken a liking to Anfield in recent years, earning draws in two of their previous three visits, but they took it a step further last Thursday, grabbing all three points thanks to Ashley Barnes late penalty. 

For Liverpool, it was a new low in what has been a very difficult period for the Reds. Jurgen Klopp’s men are winless in their last five league matches, picking up just three points during that spell. 

Even more worrying is the fact that they have failed to score in their last four league matches- against Newcastle United, Southampton, Manchester United and Burnley. 

Liverpool used to be sure bankers for punters, but that is no longer the case. Those who have backed Liverpool in the last few weeks have only ended up gifting their money to the bookies. 

Big betting sites like bet9ja are definitely not complaining! 

So what exactly has gone wrong with Liverpool? Where is that high-flying, free-scoring Liverpool that cantered to the title last season? 

How can they go from being so dominant to struggling to break down Burnley and Newcastle United? 

Yes, they have had tough luck with injuries, but most of their key problems have been at the other end of the pitch. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have been out for a few months now and are not due to return to action anytime soon, while Joel Matip has been in and out of the squad. 

Could it be that these defensive problems have rippled through the squad and are starting to affect other areas? 

Their full backs, especially Trent Alexander-Arnold, are not as decisive as they were last season, while the midfield has lacked its usual bite and aggression. 

Liverpool’s vaunted front three of Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have had their moments this season- Salah currently leads the race for the Golden Boot- but even they have been shadows of their previous selves in recent weeks. 

Klopp certainly did not help himself with his team selection against Burnley. Why would he leave Salah and Firmino on the bench in a match that they absolutely had to win?  

Yes, they had a big FA Cup clash against Manchester United at the weekend, but surely, the logical thing to do would have been to take care of the more immediate tasks, and worry about future assignments later. 

Defending the Premier League title is never easy, and Liverpool are finding that out the hard way. 

Liverpool were never really pushed in their run to the title last season, but this term, they have had to deal with the extra pressure of having multiple teams bunched with them in an intriguing title race. So far, they have not handled it very well. 

Liverpool are fourth in the league, six points behind leaders and fierce rivals, Manchester United, and four behind Manchester City. 

City have played one game less than both Liverpool and United. 

Liverpool are just a point ahead of Tottenham and two clear of Merseyside neighbours, Everton. Problem is: Spurs have a game in hand, and Everton have two. Liverpool are at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in their next Premier League match. 

By the time everyone plays their full quota, the champions can find themselves as far back as sixth, and further adrift in the title race. 

They need to snap out of this poor spell very quickly, else they may have to contend with battling for a top-four position, rather than top of the league. 

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