Liverpool v Burnley: Match in pictures
Jamie Carragher is worried Liverpool’s title challenge could be over by the end of February with the bigger concern being on whether they even quality for next season’s Champions League. Liverpool have been struggling for form over the past month following their 7-0 win over Crystal Palace.
That result looked as though it would kickstart a run of form for Jurgen Klopp’s side to build up some steam over the festive period.
But Jurgen Klopp’s side have been woeful of late, particularly in front of goal.
And they were punished for a lack of attacking nouse against Burnley on Thursday night as they suffered their first league defeat at Anfield since 2017.
Klopp rung the changes from the 0-0 draw against Manchester United at the weekend with both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino being benched.
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Divock Origi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came into the side with the former having the best chance for the Reds after breaking clean through on goal before striking the upright.
Liverpool controlled possession for most of the game with centre-backs Fabinho and Joel Matip often playing deep into Burnley’s half.
But they were unable to find a way through Burnley’s rigid defence, with Nick Pope putting in an inspired performance in goal.
And the Clarets stole a win late on when Alisson brought down Ashley Barnes in the box with the striker finishing past the Brazilian from the spot for the game winner.
The result leaves Liverpool now six points adrift of league leaders Manchester United while they could drop as low as sixth if both Tottenham and Everton win their games in hand.
And with tough fixtures to come over the next few weeks, Carragher is concerned that Liverpool may end up battling for a top-four spot come the end of the season.
“I can’t remember a time when this Liverpool team have been so out of form with so many players at the same time,” he said on Sky Sports.
“You think of the front three and the two full-backs in terms of providing quality and assists for goals that we’ve seen so often.
“All five at this moment look like they’re nowhere near the best. It’s not just scoring, I’m talking about in general play.”
He added: “I think Liverpool supporters will be massively frustrated. This team has done something for this club that hasn’t been done for so long – brought the title back.
“They’ll always be legends for that but [teams in the past] kept that standard year-in and year-out.
“To be fair to this team, they have over the last three years in terms of Champions League finals, Champions League winners and last year winning the league.
“For whatever reason this season, it’s not dropped off, it’s massively dropped off in the last four or five games and it’s a huge worry going forward not just in terms of the title, but the top-four positions.
“At this moment, Liverpool are massively out of form and have got a really tough run of six or seven fixtures to come and if they don’t go well, they’ll be completely out of the title race by then.
“I have no doubt that by the middle or end of February if those results don’t go well.
“But then between now and the end of the season, if that happens, Liverpool will be fighting for their lives to make sure they’re in the Champions League next season.”
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