Based on the chances created, Liverpool should have beaten Newcastle United comfortably on Saturday. Instead, the game ended a 1-1 draw after the Reds failed to add to an early opener and gave their opponents the opportunity to fight back.
It’s much the same story as earlier last week against Leeds, another game that saw Liverpool drop two points from a winning position. And it hasn’t just been the last two games the Reds have dropped points from winning positions.
A year after winning the league in part because of how well they were able to shut down games when they had the lead, Liverpool now find themselves falling out of the top four race because of their failures on that front.
“We could for sure have scored a lot of goals in the first half but at the end you are dominating the game, winning 1-0, so you have to close the game with 1-0,” reflected midfielder Thiago Alcantara. “It’s the essence of the sport.
“Your aim is to win and we didn’t deserve to win this game because we conceded. It creates for sure a disappointment. We were in a high energy bringing the game in the first half with chances. When we don’t score it looks like the team comes down.
“We tried to be in the mindset for the second half but we didn’t come through as we have to. If we score twice, the game opens for us and if we score we feel more comfortable and we can even score more, but it is what it is.”
Now, Liverpool have five games left to salvage their season—and to have a good chance of finishing in the Champions League places they probably need to win all five to beat out a Chelsea side on pace to finish fourth this season with 67 points.
For last season’s Liverpool, that might have been achievable. For this season’s, it seems a near impossibility, but a victory over Manchester United on Sunday would at least provide them with a little hope heading into the final weeks.