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Liverpool’s lackluster away form due to lack of creativity


14 wins, two draws and three losses – including two after the title decision. It was Liverpool’s away league record last season, as Jurgen Klopp led his side to 99 points and his first Premier League crown.

This season, however, is a different story. The Reds have played nine games away from home, winning two, drawing five and losing two. Their record places them 11th in the away campaign standings so far.

Last year Klopp’s team took 44% of their points away from home to win the title. By comparison, the points away from Liverpool are only a third of those already collected this time around (11 out of 33) – a ratio that may not be enough when the final table is decided.

Disappointment after 1-0 defeat to Southampton
Disappointment after 1-0 loss to Southampton | Pool / Getty Images

As we’ve seen time and time again, away form is key for any team that lifts the Premier League at the end of the season and Liverpool’s performances away from Anfield put them at risk of losing titles. consecutive.

So what is wrong?

Well, the injury crisis at Anfield may explain some of the blame.

While Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain on the sidelines, he has run into others to fill the heart of the defense for Klopp’s side. Fabinho has pulled out of midfield and has taken responsibility with great effect so far and, following Matip’s injury in their last home game against West Brom, Henderson has teamed up with the Brazilian against Southampton Monday night, when his team lost 1-0.

Jordan Henderson played in defense on Monday night
Jordan Henderson played in defense on Monday night | Naomi Baker / Getty Images

His absence in midfield was visible and, as Thiago replaced him, the Liverpool captain’s impact was missed. The 30-year-old has averaged 87 assists per game this season at the Liverpool midfielder, providing a foundation on which attacking moves can develop and turn the team around.

By comparison, when in the thick of defense, the Englishman averaged 68 passes every 90 minutes and didn’t make any key passes, compared to one per game from the midfielder. Without Henderson performing the game as he can, Klopp’s side lack urgency and drive, which has allowed them to perform poorly on the road.

Another creative outlet on the Liverpool side is the quality of the rear positions. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been the gold standard of Premier League full-backs for some time, but have struggled to inject their usual spark and inventiveness in recent weeks.

Against Southampton, Robertson was unlucky enough not to register an assist after scoring seven crosses, but he still hasn’t since his side’s 7-0 victory at Crystal Palace in December. The Scotsman only managed one dribble throughout the 90s at St Mary’s and couldn’t make a real impact on the game, as Liverpool so often rely on him to do.

Alexander-Arnold has also failed to get an assist since that shot at Selhurst Park and had a night to forget on Monday. The England international only scored three crosses and resorted to long balls more often than usual, attempting 18 in total – only seven were correct. Right-back gave the ball 38 – yes, 38 – times against Southampton, who is the most of all players this season.

Of course, it would be hard to blame the reduced creative impact of full-backs for Liverpool’s lackluster and problematic performance on the road. There are, of course, reasons why their successful crosses and key assists don’t convert.

Since the Reds’ 7-0 triumph over Crystal Palace, their frontline has been nothing short of dismal. Klopp’s side have only scored one goal in the next three games since visiting Selhurst Park in the draw against West Brom.

Jurgen klopp
Liverpool are still in the lead, but there is work to be done for Klopp | Robin Jones / Getty Images

Sadio Mane’s strike against Sam Allardyce’s side represents a shot on target from seven miserable in their last three games. The Senegalese also scored his side’s only effort against Southampton on Monday – a docile effort easily saved by Fraser Forster.

The Reds are averaging 7.8 created chances per game on their travels this season, ranking just seventh in the Premier League. With the current form taken into account, Liverpool’s frontline look like they need that number to be much higher if Klopp’s side are to start scoring wins on a regular basis, easily from home. , like last year.

Liverpool’s lack of creativity away from Anfield is ultimately holding back the goals for them – which could make the away table – and the full table – a painful sight at the end of the campaign.