Wolves 3-0 Liverpool: Twelve minutes of misery as Reds hit new low in difficult season
Last updated on .From the section Liverpool
As Wolverhampton Wanderers closed out the final few minutes of Saturday's hugely impressive dismantling of Liverpool, their fans responded to a lengthy spell of passing with chants of "ole".
In recent seasons, that is something Reds fans were often able to inflict on their opponents - but those days feel like a long time ago as a season of disappointment continues.
If a 3-0 loss at Brighton last month felt like a significant low, then this 3-0 defeat at Molineux was arguably worse. After all, the Seagulls are chasing a top-seven finish while Wolves started Saturday in the relegation zone.
This latest defeat also marked the first time since 2012 that Liverpool have lost three successive away games in the Premier League. Since the turn of the year, they have conceded nine goals in four games and scored just one - hardly ideal form with the Merseyside derby up next.
"We have to change it immediately in the next game," accepted boss Jurgen Klopp.
"Everton won today and they are in a good moment so we have to prove a point again."
The defeat leaves Liverpool in 10th, 11 points behind fourth-placed Newcastle United.
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Twelve minutes of misery
For Klopp, the damage done against Wolves was self-inflicted with a dreadful opening.
The home side, energetic and confident from the outset, capitalised on Liverpool's lethargic start to take the lead after five minutes. Hwang Hee-chan was allowed to get in behind on the right and his drilled cross deflected off Joel Matip into the back of the net.
While there was an element of bad luck about the opener, awful defending led to the second goal seven minutes later as Liverpool failed to clear inside their own box, allowing Wolves debutant Craig Dawson to drive in.
Those mistakes led to goals, but there were plenty of other examples of error-ridden play by Liverpool in that nightmare start.
"We caused the misery with the first 12 minutes," lamented a frustrated-looking Klopp in the post-match news conference. "It cannot happen."
He added: "In a game like this it is not allowed. You can criticise and judge us and you are probably right because those 12 minutes are not allowed."
Problems in all areas
Much has been made of Liverpool's struggles this season stemming from their midfield, an area the Reds have not strengthened in either of the last two transfer windows.
However, the defence and attack have also been well below par this campaign, despite the latter area having been significantly strengthened.
Injuries, of course, have not helped, but Saturday's dreadful start was reminiscent of Liverpool's performances early in the campaign - when they conceded the opening goal in five of their first seven games.
The Reds have now conceded three goals in each of their past three away games in the Premier League - at Brentford, Brighton and now Wolves - with the latest treble meaning they have conceded more goals (28 in 20 games) than they did in the whole of last season (26 in 38 games).
Liverpool did finish last year with four wins in a row, so have the capability to turn things around, but need their attack to start scoring again, having managed just one goal in their past 360 minutes of Premier League football.
Asked if he still believes in his players to rediscover the form that saw them challenge for multiple trophies last season, Klopp said: "I don't lose confidence in the boys but we have to improve and that is what we are working on."
'Sacked in the morning' - can Klopp turn it around?
Towards the end of Saturday's game, Wolves fans took great joy in taunting Klopp with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning".
It was tongue in cheek but Klopp is certainly facing the most difficult challenge of his eight years at Anfield.
"For fans to be calling for Klopp's head is just funny," former Everton and Scotland forward James McFadden said on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"Look at the job he has done at that club. The season hasn't even finished and already they are calling it a disappointment.
"Jurgen Klopp is a brilliant manager, as much as it pains me to say it with my Everton connections, but he obviously has enough in the bank to turn this around."
Liverpool face Everton at Anfield on 13 February, and a victory in that game could provide the boost they need to resurrect their fortunes. Eight days later they host holders Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, a repeat of last year's final.
Asked if he believes in his own ability to turn things around for the Reds, Klopp responded: "Yes. Absolutely."
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He is most certainly not a tactical genius.
There's a long queue forming from many clubs.
Is this guy for real?