The reasons for a Liverpool malaise that continued into today’s comprehensive 3-0 loss to a Wolves side are many and varied.
An aging midfield, the hangover from last season’s quadruple chase, an inability to adjust without 2/3 of the original world-conquering front three, and a raft of injuries throughout the squad all provide an explanation in part for what has been a miserable season to date.
On paper, the Reds looked to put out a side capable of getting a result against hosts who began the day in the relegation zone. However, Julen Lopetegui’s squad were more cohesive, more energetic and appeared to be following a clear plan, while no one in a red shirt appeared to be on the same page.
“Very frustrating, very disappointing,” manager Jurgen Klopp admitted in the post-match press conference.
“The start into the game was horrible, absolutely horrible; it was the opposite of what we wanted to do. The first 12 minutes, 2-0 down, is absolutely never helpful, but especially in our situation.
“The first 25/30 minutes of the second half was brilliant, was a super away game without scoring and then they scored the third goal from a counter-attack and the rest is then getting it over the line, pretty much.
“We caused that misery with the first 12 minutes. You can ask me if I can explain it; it is now 10 or 15 minutes after the game, still not. That cannot happen, it cannot. It did, I know, but that’s really tough to swallow.”
There are still a little under half the matches to play in the season, with 11 points between Liverpool and fourth-placed Newcastle not insurmountable in the slightest—however it would require the Reds finding something approximating form in any way.
“It’s really difficult to summarize,” Klopp said of Liverpool’s poor play and stuttering run of results.
“The team is not full of confidence, you can see that – the first 12 minutes were obvious, but it was about defending, being compact, being active.
“So, they say, ‘Wolves were clearly [the] better side and Liverpool had no chance.’ No, Wolves were clearly the better side for 12 minutes and maybe the last 10 minutes when they were 3-0 up and the ball was their friend again, but in between we were really in the game.
“Especially in the second half, we put them massively under pressure against a team full of confidence now because being 2-0 up they had the momentum. That’s what we can do as well but then we don’t finish the situations off which is not helpful. That’s why we lost 3-0.”
The Reds next take on Everton on Monday, fresh off of new manager Sean Dyche leading the cross-town rivals to a shock upset of league leaders, Arsenal.