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Liverpool’s Premier League defence takes a major hit after Newcastle United draw

Liverpool draw again with Newcastle United
Liverpool draw again with Newcastle United
ANALYST
Modified 01 Jan 2021, 16:24 IST
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After the full-time whistle was blown at St. James Park on Wednesday, the frustration on the faces of Liverpool players was telling. Jurgen Klopp was equally despondent.

For the third time in five Premier League games, Liverpool failed to win. Their goalless draw with Newcastle United allowed bitter rivals Manchester United to get within touching distance.

The Reds have not been at their best since their 7-0 demolition of Crystal Palace on December 19. With games coming in thick and fast over the festive period, it appears everything is gradually catching up with Liverpool.

They have endured an injury crisis, but seemed to be managing it fine until now. Klopp’s side hasn’t lost a league game since the 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa in October, yet sit just three points above Manchester United, who have a game in hand.

Liverpool’s title defense has not gone according to plan

Last season, the Reds ran away with the title. By January, they were already certain of winning the Premier League. This season, though, things have taken a different turn.

Despite sitting at the top of the table, Liverpool are currently in a shaky position. Both Manchester United and Manchester City are firmly in the title race now.

Pep Guardiola’s side currently sit eighth on the league table, but have two games in hand. Should they win those outstanding matches, they will move to just a point below Liverpool. That technically makes it a three-horse race, for now.

We are experiencing a very unpredictable season, where every side has struggled for consistency. However, Liverpool have not helped themselves by dropping vital points.

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The Reds have now failed to win against Brighton and Hove Albion, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion, and Newcastle United in the last month. The Liverpool of last season would have had no problem dispatching these opponents with ease.

Liverpool's next three games will be crucial

While the Reds ended 2020 as league leaders, the coming weeks will really test their resolve to defend the Premier League title. It is obvious that Liverpool are not as strong as they were last season, missing several key players through injury.

However, they are still favourites for the title and the Premier League is theirs to lose. Their next three games are against Southampton, Aston Villa, and Manchester United. These are games that will define their season.

Klopp may have tried to hide his frustration following the goalless draw against Newcastle, but the German knows that repeating such performances might cost them the title.

“I'm not happy about the result, but I'm not overly frustrated. It's football, and if you don't use your chances then it's difficult to win a game,” the Liverpool boss said, as quoted by Sky Sports.
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"But you can have a draw with a bad performance or a draw with a good performance, and tonight was a draw with a good performance. We just didn't use the chances, and that's why I am OK with the game."

The Premier League title race is still wide open, and any side that manages to put together a consistent run can win it. Liverpool, though, have seen their title defense take a major hit following Wednesday's draw against the Magpies. 

Published 01 Jan 2021, 16:24 IST
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