Despite Liverpool suffering what was a sixth consecutive home defeat on Sunday, this time to Fulham, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has suggested that his team is still determined to fight amidst their worrying slump.
Speaking after the game, the German said that he does not see a problem with their desire on the pitch – a worrying affirmation from the former Dortmund man – and one that the statistics certainly disagree with.
When taking their current form at face value, the reigning Premier League champions seem simply incapable of arresting their current slide. The Reds have lost six out of their last seven games, their worst run of form since 2012.
They simply do not seem capable of a reaction.
Former Liverpool hero Graham Souness has blasted the players despite Klopp’s comments saying that the German has “found out” exactly what he has got within his dressing room.
Of course, the Reds do have to be praised. The Merseyside outfit had embarked on a stunning run in the league, beginning at the start of the 2018/19 season – claiming 196 points over two campaigns – an achievement that is only managed with a huge amount of determination and motivation.
Those features appear to have evaporated though. The microcosm of 90 minutes against Fulham will attest to that fact.
According to WhoScored, it was the visitors who were simply more motivated to keep the ball out of their own net.
They racked up more tackles, the same amount of blocks and won just one fewer aerial challenge, a remarkable number considering that the Reds attempted 23 fewer longer passes than Fulham throughout the game.
Whilst not the most extortionate disparity in defensive numbers, it is shocking considering Liverpool were only a few months ago were lauded for their committed resolve in defence.
The players’ strength on the ball has also abandoned them, too, possibly a sign of a lack of focus and determination. Liverpool were dispossessed on ten separate occasions yesterday, one of those giveaways being terminal as Mo Salah’s pocket was picked by Mario Lemina who then slammed the ball home.
It is baffling then that having watched his side’s under-par performance against Fulham, paired with Liverpool’s recent run of form, that Klopp can argue that his side is still as determined as they once were. He’s kidding himself if he can’t see a change in attitude from his players.