It may be a new year, but it's looking like the same old Liverpool problems are coming back to bite them. The Reds suffered a set back in their first game of the year in an early Saturday kick-off, as they fell to Southampton.
That comes as the biggest hindrance to Jürgen Klopp's side, who seemed to steady the ship over Christmas by securing one-goal wins over Leicester City and Sunderland. Now, there's another spanner in the works. Although the mistakes may have been simplistic on paper it's a result that once again is a very tough pill to swallow. And with the games coming thick and fast in all competitions to continue the new year, it's a make or break period.
It's probably a good thing then that this all coincides with the January transfer window, then. Of course their new German manager took charge in October, and even though he had a bunch of credible players to work with and influence with his cutting-edge tactics, his own spending can really put things in place for the club.
Judging by his comments following the defeat where West Ham completed a league double on the Reds for the first time in 52 years, the German will certainly want to strengthen over the next month.
"We always had the ball, we could have made much more chances but we didn't. We have to again accept that we didn't play like we should," he told BBC Sport. Klopp went on to add that he was "angry" and his team "deserved" to lose. For many that's a stark change from the previous manager who often failed to express and accept defeat, no hit on Brendan Rodgers though.
Riding a wave of inconsistency is just a typical Liverpool thing, it's a lesson learnt over time. The Reds just struggle to sustain a strong period of form at the worst times. It's a bit of a recurrence, they hammered Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton but then got outplayed by Watford, crumbled against Newcastle and most recently just couldn't get going against West Ham.
Just as it was beginning to change, with wins over Leicester and Sunderland after Christmas, they again were retorted. They were by far the worse team on the afternoon, the possession was futile and their desire for attacking additions was fully showcased.
|Image: This is Anfield|
Christian Benteke is hardly a tragedy in any respects since his goals have helped the Anfield occupants on to victories but some baffling decision making in multiple one-on-one occasions has the Reds perhaps eyeing up something else. Lacking depth in the area with Ings ruled out and never being able to really rely on Sturridge to maintain fitness, having a convincing and convicting end product will help them massively.
But defensive issues will continue to plague them and prove a stumbling block in their course to assert their quest for European football once again. Nathaniel Clyne struggled into the air making them susceptible to headed goals - no surprise that Carroll and Antonio found the target for the Reds.
It's not entirely the full-backs fault, he has fulfilled what is needed of him in the season so far, but its just the stability and support that interlinking defenders are provided with when staring in the face of adversity.
The January transfer window presents an opportunity for Klopp to fix up the leaks and to fully, or reach close to fully implementing his philosophy and style on the squad. It will also mean that they are more adaptable to different situations, styles and teams - perhaps restricting any shock losses from occurring further down the road and rattling the morale and self belief.
However they do it, it can be done and Liverpool should do everything in their power to make themselves a more versatile squad. It won't be done overnight, but with the January transfer window, it can be sped up.
Feature image provided by The Guardian.