Liverpool were beaten 1-0 by Fulham on Sunday, registering their sixth successive defeat at Anfield in the Premier League; Liverpool have slipped to eighth in the table with Gary Neville describing their recent drop off in form as “bizarre”
So why has it gone so terribly wrong?
Liverpool are now smashing records for the wrong reasons. Having steamrolled to glory last season, the Reds have now lost six home games on the bounce.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten 1-0 by Fulham at Anfield on Sunday and have now slipped to eighth in the Premier League table, leaving their title defence in tatters and further diminishing their hopes of making the top four.
Here, we look at 10 stats that highlight the spectacular collapse…
Six home defeats on the bounce
This is the first time Liverpool have ever lost six consecutive home league games. To compound that, six home defeats is the most the Reds have suffered in a single league season since 1953/54 (when they also lost six). They last suffered more in 1937/38 (when they endured seven home losses).
Just how bad is that?
Incredibly, Klopp’s side have the worst home record in England’s top four tiers this calendar year – having picked up only one point from their seven games at Anfield in 2021.
That record is worse than other strugglers on home soil since the New Year, including Charlton, Walsall, Rochdale, AFC Wimbledon and Carlisle United.
When did it go wrong?
Arguably, the pivotal moment was Virgil van Dijk’s season-ending injury at Everton in October, followed by centre-back partner Joe Gomez being ruled out for the campaign after suffering a knee injury in November on England duty.
Indeed, the chart below reveals the wheels began to loosen shortly after these injuries, plunging through the festive period to an unprecedented low in recent times.
Weakness in attack or defence?
Has Liverpool’s collapse resulted from defensive or attacking dips?
The Reds have conceded 36 goals during their 28 games to date, having shipped merely 20 after the same number of games last season – meaning the Reds’ defence is 80 per cent less effective this term.
And their goalscoring output has also declined 26.6 per cent, which has contributed to collecting 45.6 per cent fewer points this time out.
Shots drying up
Digging down deeper at the much-covered declining effectiveness of the famed front three, the number of shots on target and, thus, goals scored have plummeted since the turn of the year.
The injuries in defence could well have had a knock-on effect here, with the Reds losing the essential high press to protect a high line when midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho were forced to cover as makeshift centre-backs.
Are injuries an excuse?
According to Premier Injuries data, Liverpool had lost a league-topping 1,029 days from injuries this season as of March 1 – factoring all reported injuries sustained since the opening weekend and lasting nine days or more.
So the current injury crisis has certainly contributed, if not caused, the collapse in form – but also highlighted a lack of depth, reliance on key players and dependence on playing style.
To emphasise the extent of their injury crisis, Klopp has now deployed 20 different centre-back partnerships across all competitions this season – calling upon Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams for the defeat against Fulham on Sunday.
Liverpool surpassed all champions across Europe’s top five leagues last season with a staggering 2.8 points-per-game ratio. However, their title defence ranks bottom – crashing to just 1.5 points per game, equating to a -46 per cent drop.
Paris Saint-Germain (-14.9 per cent), Juventus (-13.3 per cent) and Real Madrid (-3.6 per cent) have all dipped in form, while only Bayern Munich (+6 per cent) are the only champions among the five leagues to record an upturn this term.
If all teams were to maintain their current ratios per game for points, goals scored and conceded, then the Reds would finish the season in ninth – behind Aston Villa on goal difference and 30 points behind league-topping Manchester City.
Worst title defence ever?
So, would that 41-point dip be the worst title defence in Premier League history? Well, in terms of drop-off, yes. Chelsea (2015/16) and Leicester (2016/17) currently hold that unfortunate mantle – both collecting 37 fewer points in the season after being crowned champions.