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Mersey woes Liverpool have gone from a blip to a full-scale crisis and Jurgen Klopp needs to find a solution

From champs to chumps as Klopp's calamities lose for fifth time in eight league outings

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

What was once an expected blip in form is now a full-scale crisis for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool after yesterday's 3-1 defeat at Leicester.

In my lifetime watching football, I've never seen a team going from where Liverpool were in mid-December to where they are now a few short weeks later.

Since the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace just before Christmas, Liverpool's world has fallen apart and as I try to fathom how this has happened, I'm struggling to come up with reasons.

There have been times when Liverpool's players have looked tired. That, of course, may be because Klopp has relied on the same small group over the last three seasons, with their energy reserves running dry.

Yet that does not explain a run of results that is, essentially, relegation form, with Liverpool going from a position of never looking like losing a game to being beaten five times in their last eight Premier League matches.

When I look at yesterday's game against Leicester, it leaves me scratching my head on so many levels as, for the first 70 minutes, Liverpool were clearly the better team and produced some classy football.

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Leicester's James Maddison celebrates with teammate Harvey Barnes after scoring his team's first goal of the match.

Leicester's James Maddison celebrates with teammate Harvey Barnes after scoring his team's first goal of the match.

Leicester's James Maddison celebrates with teammate Harvey Barnes after scoring his team's first goal of the match.

Desperate

When Mohamed Salah scored a fine opening goal, I expected them to kick on and get a win that would have been vital in what is becoming an increasingly desperate battle to try and secure a top-four finish.

Then, from nowhere, they hit the self-destruct button once again with disastrous consequences.

I had a similar feeling after the Manchester City game last weekend as when they drew level in that game, you expect this Liverpool team to put their foot on the pedal and go and win the game.

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Leicester’s Jamie Vardy cashed in on Alisson’s mistake against Liverpool (Paul Ellis/PA)

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy cashed in on Alisson’s mistake against Liverpool (Paul Ellis/PA)

Leicester’s Jamie Vardy cashed in on Alisson’s mistake against Liverpool (Paul Ellis/PA)

Instead, they make horrible defensive mistakes and make it far too easy for their opponents to hand them another beating.

They don't seem to have the ability to get on the front foot and push on and win games like this, as they did time and again over the last couple of seasons.

What must be even more infuriating for Klopp is the reality that they are contributing massively to their own downfall -and that was the case once again in defeat yesterday.

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Salah fired Liverpool in front but they couldn’t build on it.

Salah fired Liverpool in front but they couldn’t build on it.

Salah fired Liverpool in front but they couldn’t build on it.

Even after Leicester equalised with another one of those dodgy VAR calls going against Liverpool, there would have been an expectation that they would snap back and find the winner in the final 15 minutes of the game.

Instead, Alisson Becker committed football suicide for a second week in succession, handed Leicester their second goal with another crazy mistake. Then the third went in after more defensive slackness from new signing Ozan Kabak.

I don't want to pin too much of the blame for this defeat on a 20-year-old kid making his Premier League debut, so the player who has to accept the responsibility for this loss has to be Alisson.

What on earth was he thinking racing out of his box and handing Jamie Vardy a chance he couldn't miss to turn the game on its head?

I don't know if Alisson's mind is elsewhere at the moment, but you can see that he is not performing as we know he can, and it is a massive problem for Klopp.

Having so many different defensive partnerships this season has clearly unsettled the Liverpool defensive line, but we didn't expect to see Alisson throwing away games as he has done in the last few days.

Yet it is not just Alisson who is rocking on the ropes. Klopp's entire team now seem to have rapidly reached a crossroads that was not in view at the turn of 2021.

I would not write them off entirely and it would be foolish to suggest this team has run its course and needs to be ripped up because there are still classy performers throughout the squad.

Yet it is clear now that new blood needs to be injected - and that means big investment will be needed to get the kind of players Liverpool will need to compete for the top trophies.

For me, a leading striker like Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland needs to be recruited as a priority this summer and a top midfielder will be needed to replace the departing Gini Wijnaldum.

Then Liverpool will need to assess where they are with their defenders when Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez come back, although it is clear that is an area that will also need to be strengthened.

The problem is, will Klopp be given the finances he would need to make those additions, with Liverpool's owners clearly reluctant to spend money unless they can get some funds in from player sales.

Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino could all be sold to raise some funds, but it suddenly looks like Klopp will need a big transfer kitty to get this team back on track.

That fund will take a huge hit if Liverpool fail to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and qualification for next season's Champions League.

That now appears to be a very real possibility.

Top teams don't capitulate as we have seen Liverpool do in the last couple of matches and I would fear for them going to Budapest to play RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday because their self-belief and confidence appear to have been shattered.

We are all guilty of over-hyping a crisis in sport these days, but it feels like Liverpool are now at a point where they want this season to end and pretend it never happened.

So much has gone against them and now they find themselves in a place that will be unrecognisable for a team of champions that has lost direction in a hurry.

Klopp and his players need to find a way out of this mess, but it is hard to see how they can do it quickly enough to save a season that has spiralled out of control in the way that it has.

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