How Liverpool responded to their last eight big defeats under Jurgen Klopp
With the defeat at Villa Park, Liverpool have remarkably dropped more points already than they had after 27 games in last year’s title win.
But this isn’t the first time that Jurgen Klopp has suffered a major setback during his five years as Liverpool manager. Here’s eight examples of painful defeats, and how Klopp’s Liverpool responded to them.
Watford 3-0 Liverpool (February 2020)
Liverpool were still eyeing up a potential treble, invincible Premier League campaign and record points tally when they visited Vicarage Road to take on Nigel Pearson’s relegation-battling Watford back in February, having taken an incredible 79 points from 81 on offer at that point.
But they were left stunned as the Hornets produced a brilliant performance front-to-back, with Ismaila Sarr the star, scoring twice and setting up the other in a 3-0 win.
Liverpool fans won’t care too much about the extracurriculars after ending their 30-year wait for the title, but that defeat actually precipitated a minor wobble shortly before the country went into lockdown.
A few days later they were out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea, and soon enough they were out of the Champions League, having thrown away a commanding position in extra-time against Atletico Madrid as Diego Simeone’s men produced a brilliant comeback.
Barcelona 3-0 Liverpool (May 2019)
After looking all but certain to exit the Champions League at the semi-final stage after a suffering a Lionel Messi masterclass at the Camp Nou, Liverpool dusted themselves off the following weekend to beat Newcastle United 3-2 with a late Divock Origi winner, keeping the pressure on Man City at the top of the table.
And then came that second leg. Corner taken quickly…
PSG 2-1 Liverpool (November 2018)
A third consecutive away defeat in the Champions League group stage left qualification to the knockout rounds hanging in the balance, as they failed to come back from first-half goals from Juan Bernat and Neymar against the perennial Ligue 1 champions.
A few days later they beat Everton 1-0 in the Merseyside derby – thanks to that Jordan Pickford/Divock Origi moment – an injury-time winner that began a run of eight straight victories in all competitions, including a vital 1-0 home win over Napoli that booked their place in the Champions League Round of 16.
Liverpool, of course, went on to win their sixth European Cup that season, and only narrowly lost out on a first Premier League title after a relentless title race with Manchester City.
Liverpool 1-3 Real Madrid (May 2018)
The infamous Loris Karius game, Liverpool responded decisively in the transfer market, having been made to dwell all summer on their painful Champions League final defeat to Kyiv.
Goalkeeper Alisson – signed for a hefty £66.9million – proved to be inspired business as the final piece in the puzzle for Klopp.
It was a world-record signing for a goalkeeper, but given Chelsea beat it a few days later to sign Kepa Arrizabalaga, and how important a role Alisson played in their subsequent Champions League and Premier League triumphs, no one’s querying the fee paid now.
Man City 5-0 Liverpool (September 2017)
The Villa shambles wasn’t the first time Klopp’s Liverpool have suffered a defeat by a five-goal margin in the Premier League.
Liverpool had actually looked quite dangerous in the first half at The Etihad, but Sadio Mane’s first-half sending off contributed to a miserable afternoon as Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering City were absolutely ruthless.
It was far from plain sailing for Liverpool after this point, winning just two of the following nine games in all competitions and suffering a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham about a month later, but they recovered from late October and were largely excellent from thereon in.
With Mohamed Salah on fire, scoring 44 goals in all competitions, they wrapped up a fourth-place finish and upset the odds to reach the Champions League final after beating City home and away in the quarter-final.
Leicester 3-1 Liverpool (February 2017)
Liverpool were seriously floundering when they visited the King Power in February 2017. Jamie Vardy was at the double, getting on the scoresheet alongside Danny Drinkwater (remember him?), to inflict a 3-1 win over a Liverpool side that had lost five of their last seven in all competitions, and two wins in 11.
The defeat saw them drop out of the top four for the first time since August, but they recovered well from that point to help secure Champions League football for the first time during Klopp’s tenure.
Liverpool went on to take 20 points from the next 24 on offer (six wins and two draws from eight games) and would just lose one more match that season.
Watford 3-0 Liverpool (December 2015)
Liverpool had enjoyed a bump in form after Klopp took over in October 2015, but they still a million miles off the side he’d later put together at Anfield.
A sorry 3-0 defeat to Watford just before Christmas 2015 immediately followed a 2-2 home draw to West Brom and a 2-0 defeat at Steve McClaren’s Newcastle, a run of form that underlined how much work the German had on his hands.
They did well to get back to basics to beat Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning Leicester and Sunderland between Christmas and New Year, but inconsistency continued throughout that first year as they finished 8th and runners-up in the League Cup and Europa League.