Liverpool’s struggles in front of goal once again became blatantly obvious in their 2-0 defeat to Hull this Saturday, whilst their defensive frailties continue to become a problem and one Jürgen Klopp looks unable to resolve.
It has been a torrid start to 2017 for The Reds, as their hopes of challenging for the title have come to a near-end following a winless run of five Premier League games, whilst also falling victim to cup upsets, having been knocked out of the FA Cup and League Cup by Wolves and Southampton, respectively.
A clear issue with the current side is the inability to hit the back of the net. A team who started the season particularly free-scoring, receiving plaudits for their free-flowing movement and goal scoring capabilities, have suddenly become toothless.
Many fans and pundits believed Sadio Mane’s absence from the Liverpool squad, due to his involvement in the African Cup of Nations, was the primary reason for the team lacking firepower.
As he returned to the starting line-up on Saturday against Hull, however, his pace, directness and dribbling capabilities failed to have an impact, as Liverpool failed to even register a shot on target in the first-half.
Time will tell whether or not Mane’s return will solve the team’s goalscoring conundrum, or in fact, a tactical alteration or change in personnel, elsewhere on the pitch, may be needed to get The Reds scoring again.
Teams observed the goal-scoring prowess of Liverpool early in the season, and have since adopted a ‘park-the-bus’ approach when facing Klopp’s side. This template that has provided success for many teams at Anfield.
Furthermore, Liverpool’s persistent defensive struggles have led to the Reds keeping very few clean sheets. Their inability to keep a struggling Hull City out is something that will frustrate even the most of supportive of Klopp’s fans.
A direct pass from the centre-back Andrea Ranocchia allowed Oumar Niasse to bag his first goal for Hull.
The Tigers’ opener highlighted the fact that Simon Mignolet is still prone to errors – his inability to command his box and effectively gather the ball was demonstrated once again with N’Diaye tapping home after the Liverpool keeper crumbled under pressure from Abel Hernandez.
Like many sides, Hull didn’t have to do much to beat Liverpool, they just exploited the Reds’ self-destructive tendencies.
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Hull City.