Liverpool’s inexplicable collapse this season has left a proud and demanding fanbase devoid of optimism after being stripped bare and left in tatters.
It stems from the opening day, when the Reds laboured to a draw with the newly-promoted, albeit impressive, Fulham, who currently perch in the eighth spot in the Premier League, two places and three points above Jurgen Klopp’s squad.
Indeed, Liverpool have plummeted to mid-table mediocrity since then and have been vanquished in both domestic cup competitions before a ball had even been kicked in the fifth round – two competitions, by the way, that the Reds claimed triumph in last season.
However, this year years of hard work have come undone in the blink of an eye, and any morsel of fluidity or menace has dissipated like a cloud of smoke, with embarrassing defeats against the likes of Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers all occurring since the turn of the year.
At the epicentre of the peril lies Mohamed Salah, a figure of unrelenting offensive might and a pillar of strength at Anfield for multiple years following his £34m arrival from AS Roma in 2016.
Having forged 285 appearances for his Merseyside outfit, scoring an incredible 173 goals and serving 70 assists, the superlative Egyptian winger has arguably been the key component in the plethora of success that has landed on Klopp’s doorstep, winning the Premier League and Champions League among other major honours.
But this season, despite still boasting a respectable tally of 17 goals and seven assists from 31 appearances, the ‘eye test’ suggests that there has indeed been a discernible fall from grace.
And with a concerning lack of confidence compounding the 30-year-old’s issues, Klopp will swiftly need to rectify the situation and allow his most coveted asset to channel a purple patch that could indeed turn the ship around.
As per Sofascore, the £350k-per-week sensation’s average league rating this term is just 6.91, the lowest since his arrival at Anfield – for comparison, Salah chalked up an average rating of 7.39 last year.
Paul Merson remarked that Salah looks “a million miles off” his usually prodigious level of performance, with the £71m-rated talent’s seven league goals this season a noticeably low tally for his usual standards as the campaign approaches the business end.
Indeed, he looked devoid of much confidence in the loss to Wolves, surrendering possession of the ball on 14 occasions while not registering a single shot on target or completing a single dribble. In short, it was a performance that did not follow the narrative of his Liverpool career in years gone by.
While the club’s rut they are haplessly stuck in right now is issuing grave concern for Champions League aspirations and indeed the futures of some of the club’s most distinguished stars under Klopp’s tutelage, Salah will undoubtedly rekindle the very best of his form at some point.
Embroiled in the current crisis, however, Klopp and co will certainly hope such a revival comes around sooner rather than later.