Liverpool's lacklustre away form down to a lack of creativity

14 wins, two draws and three losses - two of which came after the title had been decided. That was Liverpool's away record in the league last season, as Jurgen Klopp led his side to 99 points and their first Premier League crown.

This season, however, it's a different story. The Reds have played nine games away from home, winning two, drawing five and losing two. Their record places them 11th in the away table for the campaign so far.

Last year, Klopp's side won 44% of their points away from home on the way to winning the title. In comparison, Liverpool's away points represent just a third of those already picked up this time round (11 from 33) - a ratio that might not be enough when the final table is decided.

Disappointment after a 1-0 loss to Southampton | Pool/Getty Images

As we have seen time and time again, away form is key to any side that lifts the Premier League at the end of the season and Liverpool's performances away from Anfield leave them at risk of losing out on back-to-back titles.

So, what's wrong?

Well, the injury crisis at Anfield can account for some of the blame.

While Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remain sidelined, it has fallen upon others to fill the heart of defence for Klopp's side. Fabinho has dropped back from midfield and taken responsibility with great effect so far and, after Matip's injury in their last home tie against West Brom, Henderson partnered the Brazilian against Southampton on Monday night, as his side lost 1-0.

Jordan Henderson played in defence on Monday night | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

His absence in midfield was visible and, while Thiago replaced him, the Liverpool captain's impact was missed. The 30-year old has averaged 87 passes a game this season when in Liverpool's midfield, providing a base upon which attacking moves can develop and making the side tick.

By comparison, when at the heart of defence, the Englishman has averaged 68 passes every 90 minutes and made no key passes, compared to one a game from midfield. Without Henderson effecting the game as he can, Klopp's side lack an urgency and drive which has seen them put in subpar performances away from home.

Another creative outlet in the Liverpool side is the quality from the full back positions. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have been the gold standard for full backs in the Premier League for a while, but have struggled to inject their usual spark and inventiveness in recent weeks.

Against Southampton, Robertson was unlucky not to register an assist after putting in seven successful crosses, but remains without one since his side's 7-0 win at Crystal Palace in December. The Scotsman made only one successful dribble throughout the 90 at St Mary's and couldn't come up with a real impact on the match, as Liverpool so often rely on him to do.

Alexander-Arnold has also failed to get an assist since that thumping at Selhurst Park, and had a night to forget on Monday. The England international put in only three crosses and resorted to long balls more often than usual, attempting 18 in total - only seven were accurate. The right back gave the ball away 38 - yes, 38 - times against Southampton, which is the most of any player this season.

Of course, it would be harsh to blame the full backs' reduced creative impact for Liverpool's lacklustre and problematic showings on the road. There are, of course, reasons why their successful crosses and key passes aren't being converted.

Since the Reds' 7-0 triumph over Crystal Palace, their front line has been nothing short of woeful. Klopp's side have netted just one goal in the three subsequent games since their visit to Selhurst Park, coming in the draw against West Brom.

Liverpool are still top, but there's work to be done for Klopp | Robin Jones/Getty Images

Sadio Mane's strike against Sam Allardyce's side represents one shot on target out of a measly seven in their last three matches. The Senegalese also notched his side's only effort on goal against Southampton on Monday - a tame effort easily saved by Fraser Forster.

The Reds are averaging 7.8 chances created per game on their travels this season, ranking just seventh in the Premier League. With current form taken into account, the Liverpool front line look as though they need that number to be much higher if Klopp's side are going to start securing wins on a regular basis easy from home, like last year.

Liverpool's lack of creativity away from Anfield is ultimately holding back the goals for them - something that could make the away table - and full table - a sore sight come the end of the campaign.


Source : 90min