sport news Liverpool's problems are stacking up in the race for a top-four finish trends now

sport news Liverpool's problems are stacking up in the race for a top-four finish trends now
sport news Liverpool's problems are stacking up in the race for a top-four finish trends now

sport news Liverpool's problems are stacking up in the race for a top-four finish trends now

A new year should have brought new optimism for Liverpool but already it feels like 2023 is shaping up to be a war of attrition.

Securing a top-four spot is the minimum expectation for owners Fenway Sports Group, but following Monday’s shambolic 3-1 defeat at Brentford, it feels as if they are losing the battle.

Jurgen Klopp will not panic with 63 points in the Premier League up for grabs but he cannot ignore the warning signs around his team. Sportsmail pinpoints the areas he needs to address.

Jurgen Klopp's problems at Liverpool are stacking up in their battle to finish in the top four

Jurgen Klopp's problems at Liverpool are stacking up in their battle to finish in the top four

Liverpool have endured a tough start to 2023 after losing 3-1 to Brentford on Monday night

Liverpool have endured a tough start to 2023 after losing 3-1 to Brentford on Monday night

SLOPPY AT THE BACK

When Liverpool are in a groove, it is almost impossible to break them down but they have been as robust as balsa wood this season and it was poppycock to hear Klopp complain about the legitimacy of Brentford’s third goal, given it came at the end of a shambles.

Liverpool, remarkably, have not kept a Premier League clean sheet since October 19 — seven matches ago — and that shutout against West Ham was one of just four in 17 matches so far. For comparison, at the same stage last season there had been 10 clean sheets.

It has been a fad to highlight, at times, the form of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk but to try to put the blame for this malaise on one player is ridiculous. Liverpool are out of sync all over the pitch and the consequence is vulnerability.

No team with serious ambitions of being successful can concede first 13 times in 26 matches, as Liverpool have done so far and if it continues they will not overhaul the teams ahead of them. The fact their goals against tally mirrors West Ham (22) tells you everything.

Virgil van Dijk has not been at his best

Neither has Trent Alexander-Arnold

It has been a fad to highlight the form of Trent Alexander-Arnold (right) and Virgil van Dijk (left)

MIDDLE MUDDLE

Jamie Carragher was frank in his criticism of Liverpool’s failure to sign a midfielder and there is no question it is an area of the pitch that must be reinforced as a matter of urgency, but the idea that Klopp and his team of scouts have let this drift is not accurate.

Liverpool would have moved heaven and earth to get Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco last summer.

The fee of more than £65million would have been met, as would the personal terms the France international wanted. His displays at the

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