Liverpool suffered a humiliating Premier League defeat away to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday afternoon, worsening their failing season and ringing a cacophony of deafening warning bells across the loyal supporters
The 3-0 setback against a coherent and gelled Albion unit was preceded by a 3-1 defeat at Brentford in the league, with a lucky home draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup sandwiched between those two awful performances.
Jurgen Klopp’s side has only 28 points from their first 18 league matches; in comparison, the Merseyside giants finished second last season with 92 points and won both the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
This present generation of withering players is a pale imitation of the exceptional, relentless squad that came so close to an unprecedented quadruple last year.
It was a dreadful performance from a team that had expectations of launching another title assault at the start of the current season. Instead, the focus is now just on finding a vein of form to propel the squad back into European contention, with present prospects indicating that even that modest goal may be too much to ask.
With Brighton’s passionate aura and inner belief that a significant weakness in Liverpool’s armour might be exposed, Klopp’s team was shoved aside, with several unacceptable displays.
Captain Jordan Henderson struggled to keep his team together and appeared tired in midfield, while 31-year-old centre-back Joel Matip was at the epicenter of the damage, handing away the ball in the build-up to the opening goal.
However, it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was once again deputizing on the left side in the absence of several of the club’s normal offensive alternatives, who may have left the south coast with the lowest head.
According to Sofascore, the Englishman had a low average rating of 6.1, with only 29 touches in 69 minutes on the pitch.
In an affair which desperately called for someone to take the reins and demonstrate their worth to the beleaguered Klopp, Oxlade-Chamberlain could do little more than muster a “atrocious” display – in the words of prominent blogger Johnny Ward – who emphastically stated that it was a “war crime” for the player to still hold a place in the Liverpool team.
With his contract expiring at the end of the season, the 29-year-old is swiftly running out of chances to impress, and he confronts the scary prospect of leaving as a free agent unless he can stake an implausible claim during the next few games.
It was a crucial afternoon, a big game for Klopp’s team, and the manager was let down by a lack of inspiration and togetherness. Change is required, and Oxlade-Chamberlain is in danger of being viewed as throwaway.