With three losses in their last four games, many Liverpool fans are now starting to worry about their form.

For a team that looked unbeatable for months on end, even looking likely to go unbeaten the whole season just a few weeks ago, why has there been such a sudden dip in performance?

No Henderson

Many have tipped Henderson to be among the contenders for the PFA Player of the Year award after an outstanding campaign in the English top flight. Liverpool have been without their captain for their last four matches. Is it just a coincidence that their form has dropped since his injury?

Henderson is not the team’s most talented player, but few members of the champions-elect’s squad this season have been better than the Englishmen. Whether fielded in a No.6 or No.8 role, Henderson has been excellent. He brings the drive and energy any team in the world would crave for, often setting the tempo of Liverpool’s ferocious pressing game.

Also, Henderson is Klopp’s lieutenant general. He is constantly seen encouragingly shouting out orders to his teammates and it has seemed as if Liverpool have lost this leadership and direction in recent games. Last weekend in their defeat to Watford they looked limp and weak, particularly in midfield. The whole manner of their performance underlines how important Henderson is to the team’s dynamic, highlighting just how much he is missed.

Image result for henderson
Image by John Jones under creative commons licence

Jurgen Klopp had this to say about Henderson back in January: “If anyone who is with us doesn’t see the quality of Jordan Henderson I can’t help him. Is Hendo the perfect football player? No. Do I know anybody who is? No. Is he unbelievably important to us? Yes. You see, in life character and mentality helps always. In this case especially.”

It’s clear to see Liverpool have missed these aspects and Klopp will be wanting Henderson back in his side as soon as possible.

Winter break

In the five games Liverpool have played in since the winter break, they have lost three times and won twice. The two wins came against Norwich and West Ham and were fairly unconvincing, with both relegation potentials deserving at least a point against the league leaders.

Then Liverpool’s vulnerabilities were truly exposed as they laboured to a 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid, a 3-0 loss against Watford and finally a 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Klopp has always been a vocal supporter of the break and even played the club’s youngest ever XI for an FA Cup replay with Shrewsbury Town to ensure the first-place players were given time to rest.

However, has the break actually done Liverpool more harm than good? Since the winter break, Liverpool have looked lethargic and completely lacking in the team spirit that was there before. Twitter account @PremLeaguePanel gave an interesting analysis into what’s tactically going wrong for Liverpool since the break. Here is the thread below:

Have opposing teams finally found a way to defeat Klopp’s men and are we simply not giving enough credit to the opposition that have overcome his tactics?

The games against West Ham and Atlético Madrid were defined by Liverpool’s inability to create and thread the needle against rigid, defensive blocks, particularly Atletico’s.

Even though West Ham lost, though it was partly due to two goalkeeping errors, both them and Atletico hit them from set-pieces and well-orchestrated counter-attacks. Both sat in and asked Klopp’s men to play between the lines or cross over them.

However, Chelsea and Watford were different. Both played on the front foot for the whole game, got up into Liverpool’s shirt and were ready for a fight. Klopp’s side never punched back or showed the attacking quality that has been so prominent throughout the season.


Perhaps complacency was getting in the way of absolute perfection? Before Atletico, their season had been close to flawless, only dropping points against Napoli in the Champions League group stage and winning all but one win league game.

They have conceded the least amount of goals in the league and are only behind Man City for goals scored. Possibly because it was so easy for them before the break, complacency and overconfidence is one of the reasons as to why they are currently slacking.

This is just a blip and Liverpool will obviously win the league this season, but the reds have to cut out complacency and iron out their mistakes before the return leg against Atletico Madrid if they have any chance of having a successful Champions League campaign again this season.

(Photo by Ben Sutherland- Creative Commons Licence)