As the Premier League draws to a close for 2020, Liverpool have stuttered once again after being held to a 0-0 draw by Newcastle.
The champions travelled to St James’ Park looking to move five points clear at the top of the Premier League heading into 2021, but an strong performance from Karl Darlow in goal and a fatigued performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side led to a stalemate.
It means back-to-back draws for Liverpool after their 1-1 draw with West Brom at the weekend, following their 7-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace prior to that.
It means Liverpool have now failed to beat four of the bottom six sides, drawing with Brighton and Fulham as well as the two already mentioned.
Every time they seem to look likely to go on a big run, they seem to falter.
They started the season with three wins in a row against Leeds, Chelsea and Arsenal before being thumped by Aston Villa and drawing with Everton. They then beat Sheffield United and West Ham before drawing with Manchester City.
It seems to be a pattern that is forming, where they struggle to maintain the intensity for more than three games in a row. In fact, they haven’t won more than three league games in a row at any point this season.
With just two wins in their last six games in all competitions, their lead at the top of the Premier League is currently at three points but second placed Manchester United have a game in hand currently.
Their primary tactic of bypassing the midfield by using their full-backs’ crossing ability and the high intensity attack of Mane, Salah and Firmino forcing errors and finishing clinically has struggled with the hectic schedule.
Obviously injuries won’t have helped throughout the season, but they’ve generally done well. They’re not in a crisis or anything of the sort, but throwing away points in games like these is something they haven’t done in several years under Klopp.
It may be time for the German coach to switch up his style slightly and take a page out of the book of Pep Guardiola’s Man City team.
The Catalan coach has slowed his team down and focused more on not conceding rather than pummelling sides, and while the lack of intensity has made them hard to watch it has been effective.
Klopp’s squad is strong and more than capable of playing their usual style through injuries, but with the schedule as crazy as it is a more reserved style may be needed for the quality to shine through.