Where has it all gone wrong for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool this season?
After missing out on the chance to defend their Premier League crown by a one-point deficit last season, Liverpool opened the 2022/23 campaign with their sights firmly set on mounting another title charge.
However, continuing to show a string of issues on either side of the World Cup break, Jurgen Klopp’s men now find themselves facing an almighty uphill struggle if they’re to even secure a top-four finish come May.
Putting in another hugely worrying display on February 4th as they fell to a 3-0 drumming at the hands of relegation scrappers Wolves, the Premier League giants are currently priced as high as 5/1 with the SBK £10 welcome offer to pinch an automatic Champions League ticket.
With it looking like the ex-Borussia Dortmund boss is enduring his toughest spell since taking charge at Anfield back in 2015, Liverpool face plenty of questions in 2023.
Breaking a host of unwanted records during the extended domestic nightmare, we have taken a look at where it has all gone so publically wrong for Klopp and Liverpool this season.
A defensive nightmare without Van Dijk
Ending their 30-year wait to lift a top-flight title back in 2020 and gaining a host of plaudits from across the Premier League, a huge part of Liverpool’s success was down to their defensive steel.
However, with defensive talisman Virgil van Dijk suffering a long-term hamstring injury during their 3-1 loss away at Brentford on January 2nd, Klopp’s side have drastically failed to find any kind of stability in the 31-year-olds absence.
Likewise, along with growing speculation over Joel Matip’s future on Merseyside, the likes of Joe Gomez have failed to fill van Dijk’s void since being handed a rare opportunity at Anfield.
Despite snatching a hard-fought 0-0 stalemate against fellow heavyweight strugglers Chelsea last month, that is remarkably the only Premier League clean sheet that Klopp’s side have claimed from any of their previous 10 top-flight appearances.
With that defensive nightmare stemming all the way back to a 1-0 win against West Ham on October 19th, Klopp’s leaky backline have also broken some unflattering records.
In fact, 28 goals conceded is the most Liverpool have shipped in their first 20 games of the season since the 1992/93 campaign. Not only that, but their defensive record has sunk to a 30-year low.
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Glaring issues away from Anfield
Opening February with that stunning 3-0 defeat away at Molineux and holding just a single-point buffer from dropping out the top-half of the Premier League table, Klopp will have a real headache over his side’s struggles outside of Merseyside.
Along with crashing out of this season’s FA Cup last month following a last-gasp 2-1 loss away at Brighton, the English icons have lost each of their last four straight domestic appearances away from Anfield.
Getting 2023 underway with another infamous collapse on the road as they slumped to a 3-1 drumming at the hands of Brentford, Liverpool have lost three consecutive Premier League away fixtures by an aggregate score of 9-1.
Now suffering three successive Premier League away day defeats for the first time since 2012, Klopp’s side have also won just a pair of their last 10 top-tier battles on the road this season.
Inching past the halfway point of this year’s dreadful campaign with seven top-flight defeats already to their name, that tally is half the amount of losses the Reds suffered over the previous three seasons combined.
🗣️ OLE, OLE, OLE.
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) February 7, 2023
Failing to add midfield reinforcements
While many fans around Anfield might have been excited to see Dutch star Cody Gakpo arrive on Merseyside following a £45million deal with PSV last month, Liverpool are clearly ruing the chance to add an out-and-out central midfielder to their ranks.
Opening up the January transfer window expected to add some much-needed midfield reinforcements, Klopp and the Liverpool hierarchy have come under increasing scrutiny for their lacklustre activity in the market.
Along with the likes of James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara all being on the wrong side of 30, both Fabinho and Naby Keita have been dealing with their own respective injury issues.
Will Liverpool sign Jude Bellingham? The Latest Odds
Clearly short on midfield options and with the Champions League knockout stage quickly approaching on the horizon, it appears that Klopp has placed all of his eggs in Jude Bellingham’s basket.
However, while Liverpool might find themselves priced at 2/1 with bet365’s free bet offer to clinch the 19-year-old’s signature this summer, the former Premier League champions will know that they face a real heavyweight tussle for England’s midfield sensation.
Unlikely to be able to offer Bellingham the prospect of Champions League football next season, Klopp’s midfield gamble could prove to be a foolish error in the long run but Bellingham’s odds to join Liverpool are still short enough to think it is a possibility.
The bookies have different opinions on Bellingham’s next club – Sky Bet have Bellingham’s odds at 2/1 to move to Real Madrid and 5/1 Manchester City. The same bet is 6/1 with the BetUK £30 welcome bonus and Manchester United are 14/1.
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