Liverpool now find themselves fourth in the table, 10 points behind league-leaders Manchester City, following the latest round of Premier League fixtures.
Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered a humiliating 4-1 defeat against Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
That’s now three successive home defeats for the Reds. The last time that happened was all the way back in 1963.
Liverpool’s poor run of form was analysed by club legend Jamie Carragher on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
The retired defender took a careful look at the data and highlighted how many of Liverpool’s first-team stars are presumably exhausted, having played so much football since 2018.
“We’re talking about intensity and Liverpool maybe dropping off and looking a little bit jaded physically – and how similar this [2018 Champions League final] team is to what Liverpool have today,” Carragher said.
“That back four, it’s still the same two full-backs, [Virgil] van Dijk when he’s fit plays. Dejan Lovren has moved on but [Joel] Matip would have played that final if he was fit, and Joe Gomez was at the club.
“The midfield two is still [Georginio] Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson, first choice, and James Milner has played the last four or five games as well. That’s the one area where Liverpool did bring someone in, it was Fabinho. So we are talking about one player [coming in].
“And then you’ve got the front three [Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane].
“It’s still the same team that’s been together for three years.
“When you look at the percentage of Premier League minutes played from August 2018, this is a team that have gone to the well for three years and produced unbelievable moments, trophies for this club. And that’s why I find it a little bit hard to be too critical of what I’m seeing at the minute.
“This is not an attitude thing. This is not a team who think, ‘We’ve won the league, we’ve made it’. They just haven’t stopped for three years. That’s why I say they need a little bit of help.”
Carragher believes Liverpool require three new players – a centre-back, a midfielder, and a new forward – to help ease the burden on the club’s fatigued first-team players.
He added: ”People say, ‘Well, Jurgen doesn’t rotate’. Liverpool haven’t got the quality of squad and back up of other clubs. Liverpool wouldn’t have won the trophies they have done over the last two or three years if he’d rotated.
“I still think they will be back – but they need three players.
“They need a centre-back – maybe he’s joined now in Ozan Kabak – they need someone to replace Wijnaldum, and they need someone in the front three.
“And I’m not talking about players on the bench. I’m talking about players to come into the team like Matip, Wijnaldum, and Mane did, like Salah, Van Dijk, and Alisson. That’s what Liverpool need.”
Watch Carragher’s analysis in full here…
Carragher makes some excellent points. It’s too easy to simply point to Van Dijk’s injury as the reason Liverpool are struggling at the moment.
Liverpool’s key players have all played *a lot* of football over the past three years, and it seems they’re now paying the price.
In terms of Premier League players who have made the most appearances since August 2018, five of Liverpool’s stars (Salah, Firmino, Robertson, Mane and Wijnaldum) make the top 10.
It will surely be the priority of Klopp and the rest of Liverpool’s backroom staff this summer to ensure several top players are signed ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.