From champions to also-rans – a timeline of Liverpool’s season of struggle

PA Sport Staff
·3 min read

Liverpool’s rapidly unravelling season plumbed new depths on Sunday as they crashed to a sixth successive home defeat, going down 1-0 to relegation-threatened Fulham.

The reigning Premier League champions are in danger of losing touch with the top four as memories of last season’s triumphant charge to their first title for 30 years fade fast.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at where it has all gone wrong for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

2020

Everton v Liverpool – Premier League – Goodison Park
Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk (right) was clattered by Jordan Pickford (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

October 17: Influential central defender Virgil Van Dijk suffers knee ligament damage in a rash challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in a 2-2 derby draw at Goodison Park and undergoes surgery which will rule him out for months. To compound their misery, the Reds are denied victory when a late Jordan Henderson strike is ruled out by VAR.

November 12: Fellow defender Joe Gomez goes under the knife after damaging a knee tendon while on England duty and begins a lengthy period on the sidelines.

Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion – Premier League – Anfield
Semi Ajayi stunned Anfield (Nick Potts/PA)

December 13: Striker Diogo Jota is ruled out for up to eight weeks by damage to a knee suffered during a 1-1 Champions League draw with Midtjylland four days earlier.

December 27: Klopp’s side squander two points as they fail to make the most of a dominant performance against struggling West Brom and are punished at the end when Semi Ajayi cancels out Sadio Mane’s opener to snatch a surprise 1-1 draw for new manager Sam Allardyce at Anfield.

2021

Brighton’s Steven Alzate celebrates his winner at Anfield
Brighton’s Steven Alzate celebrates his winner at Anfield (Chris Brunskill/PA)

January 21: Liverpool, whose wait for a Premier League goal passes seven hours, surrender their 68-game, near four-year unbeaten home run when Ashley Barnes’ 83rd-minute penalty hands Burnley an unlikely 1-0 victory.

February 3: Brighton repeat Burnley’s Anfield heroics as Steven Alzate’s first Premier League goal seals a famous win.

Liverpool v Everton – Premier League – Anfield
Alisson has had a challenging time (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

February 7: Liverpool’s title defence is dealt a further blow when Manchester City, the side they had beaten to top spot by 18 points to end their barren run, condemn them to a 4-1 home defeat aided and abetted by two howlers from keeper Alisson Becker.

February 20: Richarlison’s third-minute strike and a late Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty clinch a first derby victory for Everton at Anfield in 22 years.

Everton players celebrate on their way to victory in the Merseyside derby
Everton players celebrate on their way to victory in the Merseyside derby (Phil Noble/PA).

February 26: Skipper Henderson is ruled out for several months after undergoing surgery on the groin injury he suffered during the derby defeat.

March 4: Mason Mount’s first-half goal condemns Liverpool to a fifth successive defeat at Anfield for the first time in the club’s history as Chelsea leave Merseyside with a 1-0 victory. Star striker Mohamed Salah is substituted with 28 minutes remaining and makes his displeasure clear.

March 7: The crisis deepens as Mario Lemina’s first Fulham goal seals a 1-0 away win, Klopp’s first loss against a promoted side.