LIVERPOOL were left at the mercy of several damning statistics after Sunday’s 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City.
No team in English top-flight history has ever suffered such a large drop-off as the Reds, who are 27 points worse off than at this stage last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool suffered a bruising encounter with Manchester City on SundayCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Jurgen Klopp’s side produced a raucous romp like no other to win the title last season – with just two points dropped in their first 23 games.
While many expected the Reds would experience a natural decline in 2020-21, few could have predicted such a major decline.
Sunday’s defeat left Liverpool ten points off the top and worrying for their top-four status, with five teams within five points of them ahead of Chelsea’s game at Sheffield United.
Vital to last year’s title success was the impenetrable fortress of Anfield.
But Liverpool‘s considerable collapse has seen their 68-game unbeaten run at home in the league turn into a three-game losing streak.
After City followed up wins by Brighton and Burnley on Merseyside, the Reds were left as the first reigning champions to lose three in a row at home since Chelsea in 1956.
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson told Sky Sports post-game: “It is hard to take now but in football you have to move on quickly.
“We need to use this week to prepare the best we can for a tough game with Leicester.
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“Yes the result is very disappointing when you look at the scoreline, but I felt large parts of the performance was more like us. I didn’t think we deserved to lose by that much but we made errors that cost us.
“We don’t look at the league table, just concentrate on the next game and try and win every game we can whether you are on top or fourth or fifth.”
Perhaps Pep Guardiola’s side were the least-ideal team to face as Liverpool aimed to bounce back, given their form against defending title holders.
City have now won five of their last six trips to Premier League champions, yet had never beaten a Reds side defending their crown in 14 previous trips to Anfield.
Ilkay Gundogan missed a first-half penalty for the visitors before he poked his side in front.
Mohamed Salah levelled from the spot ahead of another Gundogan strike, his 11th of the campaign.
Liverpool face a fight to qualify for the Champions LeagueCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Manchester City look set to cruise to the Premier League titleCredit: Reuters
Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling scored late on to secure the points in emphatic fashion.
Many now fancy the Citizens to snap up the Reds’ crown thanks to their 14-game winning run in all competitions.
Sunday’s win equalled an English top-flight record for consecutive victories, matching the streak Arsenal put together in 1987 and Preston’s run of 1892.