Klopp must face painful truth as unbeaten home record ends with a whimper


It was a record surrendered with a whimper – the ultimate comment on Liverpool’s disintegrating defence of their title.

After 68 unbeaten matches at Anfield in the Premier League, on a triumphant run that saw then look truly invincible on their home ground, Liverpool were humbled by Burnley, who produced a tenacious display to expose the frail confidence of the Champions.

It is a defeat that sends shockwaves around the English game, and not just because it ends the second longest home unbeaten run in Premier League history.

It also removes this team’s aura of greatness.

Quite how they can have gone from one of the most dominant campaigns in this history of English football, to this shadow of the side which lifted that glittering trophy only six months ago, is one of football’s most enduring mysteries.

But make no mistake, Liverpool really are suffering a devastating loss of belief and identity, their confidence shattered by a total lack of threat in front of goal that threatens not only their title chances, but their prospects of finishing in the top four.



Liverpool's Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold look dejected
A stunned Mo Salah looks dejected

They have not scored in four league games now – and they barely looked like ending that depressing run against Burnley.

That has seen them slip from leaders and Premier League favourites, to a side that are out of the Champions League places – and out of ideas.

The lack of confidence told elsewhere too, the visitors making them pay the ultimate price for wayward finishing, Ashley Barnes scored from the spot with seven minutes remaining to punish them mercilessly.

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It may have been slightly fortunate with Barnes appearing to look to clip the keeper when he went through as Alisson charged recklessly from his goal, but Liverpool can have few complaints after another shocking performance.



Ashley Barnes celebrates scoring
Ashley Barnes celebrates scoring

They were undone by finishing which is not just puzzling, but simply inexplicable.

They are the leading scorers in the league still, even after four barren games, and they lack even a hint of killer instinct in front of goal.

This time Divock Origi missed a glorious opportunity in the first half, and the man he replaced in the starting line up Roberto Firmino spurned two even better ones when he finally came on as a sub.



Jurgen Klopp and Alisson at full-time
Jurgen Klopp and Alisson at full-time

One came before Burnley had scored, the Brazilian, who looks almost an imposter from the striker who did so much to help Liverpool deliver so many trophies over the past two season, produced a horrible, horrible finish as he sliced wide from in front of an almost open goal.

And in the final minute, with Liverpool so desperate to preserve their unbeaten run that Alisson dashed forward for corners, Alexander-Arnold’s shot fell to him, but his flick was diverted wide the excellent Ben Mee when he should have scored.

Origi’s finish was better, but he could have shown more composure when Mee’s mistake allowed him to race through, to strike a crashing shot against the cross bar.

And in truth, Burnley had their chances too, Alisson twice saving well and sub Gudmundsson shooting inches wide from close range.

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The visitors still had their brilliant keeper Nick Pope to thank for a fine save from sub Mo Salah, but the truth is, they deserved their first win here since 1974.

And the painful truth for Jurgen Klopp is, he needs major surgery – and new blood – to save Liverpool’s season.

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