Toothless “Reds” appear after the embarrassing 1-0 defeat at Anfield Road against Burnley at Manchester United, but whether the rehabilitation will succeed at Old Trafford is questionable. Jürgen Klopp says: “ The 0: 1 was a heavy slap in the face!”
After the first league home defeat in almost four years, Liverpool is heavily on the ropes. Since the 7-0 goal spectacle against Crystal Palace in mid-December, the “Reds” have not won in the Premier League or are more than difficult to score at all. In its current form, the mission to defend the title seems more than in jeopardy. Coach Jürgen Klopp spoke of a “heavy, heavy blow in the face” for his team.
“How stupid it would be if I sit here now, after a loss to Burnley, with three or four games without a goal – I don’t know exactly – and talk about the title race,” said Klopp. “How stupid would that be?” He repeated. Liverpool remained without a win in the league for the fifth time in a row. The club suffered their last home defeat on April 23, 2017 in a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace. After that, the team remained unbeaten 68 times in the Premier League in their own stadium.
Klopp took the blame: “It’s my job that you feel good, that you feel confident.” Liverpool are only fourth in the table with 34 points. The gap to leaders Manchester United is six points. Manchester City could pull away to seven points after losing points. The lead over seventh West Ham is only two points.
Liverpool’s long-time professional Jamie Carragher, now working as a TV expert, said: “I think Liverpool should be more concerned about placing in the top four than about the title race over the next few weeks.” Duels with Tottenham, Manchester City and Leicester City are waiting for the reigning champions until mid-February. Klopp was critical of the current condition of his stars. “Confidence is like a little flower. Obviously someone stepped on it. We now have to find a new one,” said the German.
Another setback threatens on another stage at the weekend. In the fourth round of the English FA Cup, Liverpool will visit Manchester United on Sunday (6 p.m.). The most recent duel in the league ended 0-0 last Sunday in Anfield.
Burnley’s no-frills defense was enough to despair the uninspired running hosts. Liverpool’s professionals acted far too imprecisely on the offensive to be able to break the defensive bar. The goal for Burnley was scored in the finish by Ashley Barnes with a penalty (83) after the striker was brought down by “Reds” shotgun Alisson. For Barnes, who was once a candidate for the ÖFB team because of his Austrian grandmother, it was his 100th goal as a professional according to his own statements. “That I can do that here is special,” said the 31-year-old.