Liverpool’s strike out against Chelsea deepens trough but UCL offers redemption

March 5 – Two seasons ago they won the Champions League. Last season they finally clinched the English league title for the first time in 30 years.

Everything pointed to a sustained period of success but now, incredibly, Liverpool  have lost at home for the fifth straight time, setting two unwanted records:  the first time that has ever happened to an English top-flight champion and the worst  run in the club’s entire history.

Crisis is an over-used word in football but it can certainly be applied to Jurgen Klopp and his team following Thursday’s latest setback against Chelsea that saw them plummet to seventh spot.

Remarkably, their five successive home league defeats came after they had lost none of the previous 68 games at what used to be a fortress.

In their defence Liverpool are suffering an horrendous injury count with a raft of key players on the sidelines and others forced to play in unfamiliar positions.

But they still have their famed established front three – Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane or Roberto Firmino – yet have now gone more than 10 hours without a goal at Anfield, in the past an impenetrable venue for visiting teams,  and are grave danger of missing out on Champions League qualification, an unthinkable scenario not so long ago.

Salah, the Premier League’s leading goalscorer, was even substituted on Thursday and sat shaking his head, an indication of how he and his team are faring right now.

“With all the possession we had you need to have more chances,” said a disgruntled Klopp. “Unfortunately we cannot say it is only at home. It is not about Anfield or whatever, it is in general, too often. In the decisive moments we have to improve. We have to show our quality in these moment and we don’t do that often enough.”

Liverpool are still on course for a quarterfinal place in this season’s Champions League.  Yet with their domestic title defence in tatters, Klopp’s side now have their work cut out to claw themselves back into top-four contention and salvage something from what has been a nightmare season so far.

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