The soft rush of wind you felt in your hair around 1:15pm ET was the result of a collective sigh exhaled simultaneously by all Liverpool fans after the final whistle of a crushing 0-0 draw against Everton.
The third 0-0 draw in their past four matches (!) caused the Reds to fall a point behind Manchester City in the Premier League title race. That Quadruple CrownTM, with Manchester City winning four trophies this year, is looking more and more like an annoying reality.
Sloppy Play Kills Spirited Effort
Liverpool’s lack of non 0-0 results certainly isn’t due to a lack of effort. They’re not flat in any of these games. They’re just not sharp on offense.
As has been written ad nauseum, the Reds aren’t getting much goal production from their midfielders this campaign. That is making them entirely too easy to defend now. If Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino aren’t “on,” then the whole offense is off.
Against Watford last week, this wasn’t an issue. The offense linked up creatively and generated scoring opportunities aplenty, securing a 5-0 win.
Against Everton, they were sloppy. The passing wasn’t crisp. The midfielders and wing-backs couldn’t locate forwards in the right spots. And most critically for Liverpool’s title chances, Mo Salah couldn’t convert two golden chances. Whether it’s the pressure of the title chase, the pressure of an away Merseyside Derby, or both, this simply isn’t going to cut it in a title race with razor thin margins.
But Oh Wait, It Gets Worse!
Oddsmakers are clearly off the Liverpool bandwagon. After installing Liverpool as prohibitive title favorites after Boxing Day, Liverpool have continued to slip, now finding themselves at +210 on FanDuel NJ. They’re closer today to their preseason +400 listing than their -175 heights.
Do NOT Look at FiveThirtyEight!
Bird Box this shit right now! Do NOT look below at FiveThirtyEight‘s Premier League title odds. Don’t do it!
Why did you look?
Before a third 0-0 draw in their past four games (did we mention Liverpool haven’t scored a goal in three of their past four games of which three ended in 0-0 draws?), Liverpool still were the slightest of slight favorites according to FiveThirtyEight. Now? Oh well, whatever, nevermind.
Are There Any Silver Linings?
Yeah, the backline play and Alisson are obviously saving Liverpool’s season.They’re performing at a world-class level every game.
However, Jurgen Klopp‘s managerial decisions seem to be missing the mark of late. Whether he rips his squad in the locker room we don’t know, but his public excuse-making for their performances aren’t providing a level of accountability they perhaps need. The midfield hasn’t generated goals all season. With Klopp’s constant rotating out players after solid performances, that’s not going to change. And it’s March now. If Salah, Mane, and Firmino are going to all start clicking at once again, it’s getting a little too late for it to matter.
Sure, Liverpool are only a point behind Manchester City today. But that it’s one point that feel like one mile. This race no longer feels close. The oddsmakers and analytics agree.
It was a fun race while it lasted, but these problems aren’t fixing themselves. At least Liverpool can throw it’s record-setting riches at some offensive talent this summer, reload, and have a got at it again.