A 4-1 defeat on Sunday afternoon spelt trouble for Liverpool.
The leaders, Manchester City – with the help of two calamitous mistakes from the Reds typically trusted goalkeeper Alisson Becker, eventually ran away with the game and following the final whistle, more than likely the league.
Chaos ensued across social media. Liverpool are five games without a win and have suffered three successive defeats at Anfield equalling an unwanted record that stood from the late 1960’s.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have been formidable, flamboyant and a joy to watch over the last 18 months.
A dominant spell which has saw two Champions League finals, a Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup success and an end to a 30-year wait for League glory.
There was a moment in the German head coaches post-match interview with LFC TV on Sunday that resonated with me.
He said: “In this moment, I want to remember, it’s easy to believe when it’s going well. Now all together it’s time to show character.”
In times of difficulty, it’s easy to forget about all previous shortcomings and genuine times of crisis.
As a club Jurgen Klopp has revolutionised the club, we have gone from doubters to believers – before this drags on this isn’t an article singing the German’s praises, that is one for another day.
However, a stat that stood out from yesterday’s defeat was that it was the first time he has suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats during his time at Liverpool.
205 games it took.
So although this has been a torrid start to 2021, we have seen darker times. On the pitch, Liverpool have been a shadow of the team that saw them walk the league last season and fall agonisingly short the year before.
We’ve never had it so good, if you cast your mind back to the Roy Hodgson-era, times were a lot darker and futile.
This is the best team we’ve seen in recent history but in the past, this isn’t the first squad to suffer a blip as many League and Cup-winning Liverpool sides before have suffered similarly.
Let’s delve into the previous blips from successful teams of years gone by.
‘Dozy defence leaves Dalglish in a daze’
‘Dozy defence leaves Dalglish in a daze’ reported the Guardian as Liverpool almost certainly handed over the Division title to their rivals on the other side of Stanley Park, Everton, following a 2-1 defeat at Carrow Road.
The glory days were definitely upon the Liverpool fans in the late 80’s, as we well know.
Scottish stalwart Kenny Dalglish was at the helm at Anfield in the 1986-87 season and the campaign earlier saw him lead the Reds to the First Division title.
However, their hopes of winning the league in consecutive seasons were slashed when a three-match winless run gave the Toffees the upper hand.
Prior to the defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane which kicked off the bad run, Kenny’s men went on an eight-match unbeaten run which saw them storm to the summit of the English top flight.
But three games without a win swung the pendulum back in Howard Kendall’s side favour; as Spurs, Wimbledon and Norwich City ran out winners against the then-reigning Champions.
They had to settle for runners-up that season but the Reds went on to regain the title in two out of following three years.
Shankly’s Liverpool Falter
The season is 1964-65, Liverpool are on a high from the previous year as Bill Shankly led the Reds to League Championship glory a year previous.
This spell that Liverpool are currently trudging through compared to 56-years ago is eerily similar.
The previous season saw Shankly’s side triumph in the old Football League First Division over East Lancs rivals Manchester United by three points.
However, the following season saw the Scottish manager’s side slip to a seventh-placed finish.
That season, Liverpool suffered two slumps in form during the season with a squad that featured the likes of Roger Hunt, Ian Callaghan and Ron Yeats in the ranks.
The first blip saw a six-game winless spell of three draws and three defeats. Leicester City and Manchester United took the points at Anfield whilst they left the Hawthornes redfaced as the Baggies coasted to a 3-0 win.
Newspapers at the time printed headlines that read ‘Run Out – Liverpool Pray for Rain’ as well as ‘Liverpool lose solely by their own failings’ and the Guardian published ‘Liverpool still failing’.
Indistinguishable compared to this season.
That came to an end with a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Into the latter stages of the season saw the next winless run for the Reds, this one featured a lot more defeats as they lost four out of five.
West Bromwich Albion got the upper hand on Liverpool in L4 with the same scoreline as the reverse fixture. The same 3-0 scoreline against Spurs meant they departed the capital empty-handed.
The final game in the purple patch was a 1-1 draw over Burnley, but a 2-0 win over Chelsea as Liverpool dented the Blues Championship hopes.
In what was a terrible league season, it wasn’t entirely bad for Shankly’s side as they won the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over Leeds then a year later they coasted to League glory, setting the pace for four months.
We knew winning consecutive Premier League trophies was going to be a momentous task.
With a target on our backs throughout last season, this season that target was bigger, 19 teams plying to smash down the monumental force that was Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
Add the fact of a global pandemic as well as multiple injury problems coursing through the squad, especially in the defensive ranks.
As we have seen in this article, down the years even the greatest Liverpool teams suffer a poor spell of results, but they bounce back as we found with two of the greatest managers to ever occupy the Boot Room hot seat.
The Boot Room’s legacy lives on but it is time for Klopp and his men to establish their own dynasty.
They’ve had 18 months of playing unstoppable football so a minor downturn in results is a given.
If this current Liverpool squad show the character that Klopp and the fans have called upon then we may see history, like the legends before the current crop did so before them, repeat itself.