Watching Liverpool this season as a newcomer to football you would be stunned to discover that this was a team on the brink of one of the sport’s greatest ever achievements last season.
They were one win away from winning the Premier League title and suffered defeat in the Champions League final – both of which would have ensured Jurgen Klopp’s side an unprecedented quadruple.
This season though they look mentally and physically hungover from last season’s 63-game campaign which ended in such heartache.
Klopp has already ruled out a title challenge for his side – not even a quarter of the way into the season – with the Reds tenth on 10 points and 14 behind leaders Arsenal after Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to the Gunners.
Sportsmail takes a look at the shameful stats that show just how bad the start of the season has been, for a side that was heavily expected to mount another title challenge.
Liverpool’s poor start to the season continued with their 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday
Jurgen Klopp has a lot to do to turn Liverpool’s fortunes around after their worst start in ten years
WORST START IN A DECADE
With just ten points from their opening eight games, Liverpool are in the midst of their worst start to a season since the 2012-13 season.
The early 2010s were a dark time for Liverpool fans and in the 2012-13 season, the first under Brendan Rodgers, they obtained a seventh place finish after coming eight in the campaign prior. Rodgers had a poor start to life Anfield with just nine points after eight games.
In fact, since the inception of the Premier League, Liverpool have only ever made a worse start to the season on three occasions with 1992-1993 (9 points) and under Roy Hodgson in 2010-11 (6 points) the other two campaigns.
It is Liverpool’s worst start to a season since Brendan Rodgers’ first year in charge in 2012-13
This is a stark contrast to what that they have achieved over the last three seasons at the same point.
In their title-winning campaign of 2019-20 they got the maximum 24 points, a year later they took 17 while last season they claimed 18.
Part of their problems lie with their form away from Anfield where they have failed to win all four matches away from their home – the first time this has happened since under Hodgson in 2010-11.
Only three times have Liverpool had a worst start to the season over eight games with their lowest points total at this stage being six under Roy Hodgson (left) in the 2010-11 season
There are a lot of numbers you can look at when comparing this and last season, and deciphering what is going wrong with the Reds.
Perhaps the most eye-catching is the numbers surrounding their first-half woes.
If matches finished at half-time, the Reds would be bottom of the Premier League table with four points.
For whatever reason they can’t go through the gears quickly, and that is hurting them hugely this season.
Premier League table if matches finished at half-time
1st. Arsenal 20 points
2nd. Man City 19 points
3rd. Tottenham 18 points
4th. Newcastle United 16
5th. Brighton 13 points
6th. Leicester 13 points
7th. Man United 13 points
8th. Chelsea 12 points
9th. Nottingham Forest 12 points
10th. Crystal Palace 11 points
11th. Aston Villa 11 points
12th. Everton 10 points
13th. Wolves 10 points
14th. Fulham 10 points
15th. Leeds United 8 points
16th. Brentford 8 points
17th. West Ham 7 points
18th. Southampton 7 points
19th. Bournemouth 6 points
20th. Liverpool 4 points
By contrast, if only goals from the second-half of games counted, Liverpool would be second in the table behind Manchester City.
This shows that if Liverpool could get their act together and get off the block quickly, then they would be back to the levels everyone knows and expects from the Reds.
Klopp’s side have been behind six times at half-time in the Premier League this season already when they were only behind once in the entire campaign last season – in the 2-2 draw with City at the Etihad.
Surely the German manager has had a lot of fiery half-time team talks to give this campaign – perhaps none more frustrating of which than against Arsenal at the weekend.
The Reds looked to be going into the break at 1-1 after Darwin Nunez cancelled out Gabriel Martinelli’s goal in the first-minute, only for Bukayo Saka to score in the fifth minute of stoppage time to put the Gunners ahead going into the second-half.
Second-half Premier League table
1st. Man City 22 points
2nd. Liverpool 18 points
3rd. Arsenal 18 points
4th. Tottenham 17 points
5th. Man United 16 points
6th. Chelsea 14 points
7th. Newcastle 13 points
8th. Brentford 13 points
9th. West Ham 13 points
10th. Bournemouth 12 points
11th. Brighton 11 points
12th. Everton 11 points
13th. Leeds 11 points
14th. Fulham 10 points
15th. Crystal Palace 8 points
16th. Southampton 7 points
17th. Aston Villa 6 points
18th. Leicester 5 points
19th. Wolves 3 points
20th. Nottingham Forest 3 points
ALWAYS CONCEDING FIRST
Liverpool are making life hard for themselves through their knack of conceding the first goal in a match.
In their last 12 matches, going into the back-end of last season, they have conceded the first goal on ten occasions.
By comparison, in the 12 league games before that, they only conceded the first goal on two occasions, in a 3-1 victory over Norwich at Anfield, and the 2-2 draw with Man City at the Etihad.
At the weekend, Liverpool conceded in the first minute of their defeat to Arsenal thanks to Martinelli.
Liverpool’s defence lacks the confidence that has been displayed during recent seasons
The Reds more often that not seem to fire back, but they then don’t learn from their mistakes.
In the Arsenal game, the previous 3-3 draw with Brighton and the opening 2-2 draw with Fulham, the Reds pulled themselves level or went ahead, only for the opposing team to score again and take more points off Jurgen Klopp’s side.
They are also lacking the same efficiency in front of goal, failing to find a winner against Crystal Palace or in the goalless Merseyside derby, and it took them until the eight minute of stoppage time to find a winner against Newcastle.
Something is not quite right with what has been a watertight defence in recent seasons.
They are averaging 1.5 goals conceded per game this season compared to 0.7 over 38 games last campaign and are allowing more shots on goal with 8.8 per game in 2022-23 compared to 7.8 in 2021-22.
JUST FIVE POINTS SINCE BOURNEMOUTH THRASHING
The 9-0 victory over Bournemouth was the game where everything changed for Liverpool – or it was supposed to be.
Since then Liverpool have taken just five points with their only other victory coming with the late winner against Newcastle.
If anything that game was the one where the season changed for Bournemouth rather than the Reds.
Since then, the Cherries are unbeaten in their last five games with victories over Nottingham Forest and Leicester City.
Liverpool’s season was expected to turn around following their 9-0 win over Bournemouth
If anything the season has turned around for Bournemouth who are now ahead of the Reds
Bournemouth, managed by interim Gary O’Neil after Scott Parker was sacked following the Anfield thrashing, are now eighth in the table – ahead of the Reds by two points.
Though Bournemouth were bottom of the table, Klopp’s side should have been able to take confidence from the 9-0 win, and the following victory over Newcastle, and turn their season around.
However, the promoted team who struggled to bring in players over the summer are getting the best out of themselves, while a strong Liverpool team on paper are underachieving.
POOR CLEAN SHEET RECORD
Liverpool’s success over the last few seasons has been based off a strong and resilient defence.
Virgil van Dijk for several seasons has widely been regarded as the best in his position in the league, and with Alisson Becker in goal and partners like Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez – the Reds have often been tough to break down.
Something is not quite right this season though. Van Dijk looks like he is lacking the confidence which he is normally overflowing with, Liverpool’s midfield appears easy to break down, this leaves the full-back players exposed, and they are conceding goals for fun.
Liverpool have a poor clean sheet record and only six teams have conceded less goals
Including the final four matches of last season, Liverpool have kept just two clean sheets in their last 12 Premier League games. Similar to their record of conceding goals first, this wasn’t the case in the 12 games before that – with the Reds managing 10 clean sheets as they pushed Man City for the title last season.
Only Man City and Arsenal have scored more than Liverpool’s 20 goals this season, but only six sides have conceded more than the Reds’ 12 – Manchester United, Fulham, Brentford, Southampton, Nottingham Forest and Leicester.
OTHER SHOCKING STATS
Thanks largely to their newly acquired knack of conceding goals first, Liverpool have spent more time behind in games this season (251 minutes) than the did in the whole of last season (236 minutes).
Liverpool’s problems at the back are perhaps also directly having an influence on their confidence going forward.
Except for Roberto Firmino’s upturn in goalscoring form with six goals, there is concern for the rest of their forwards.
Luis Diaz has three Premier League goals this season and is now out until Boxing Day, Darwin Nunez has added two and is still getting to grips with the top-flight, while Diogo Jota has only just returned from injury.
But Mohamed Salah’s struggles are clear to see, after he shared last season’s golden boot with Son Heing-min on 23 goals.
His last Premier League goals came in the 2-1 defeat to Man United on August 22 and he has since failed to notch against Bournemouth, Newcastle, Everton, Brighton and Arsenal.
Liverpool’s forwards have struggled with Darwin Nunez still needing time to adapt and didn’t help himself by getting suspended for three games for a headbutt on a Crystal Palace player
Against Arsenal, he had his lowest amount of touches inside an opposition’s box with just one, before he was surprisingly hauled off.
Liverpool as a whole had more possession against Arsenal, but had only 19 touches in the opposition’s box compared to Arsenal’s 46.
So far this has been a season reminiscent of Liverpool’s problems during the 2020-21 season.
However, that was a campaign where the Reds struggled with injuries and they still recovered for a third placed finish.
This has been a season which has seen a fair share of injuries but still the Reds have had strong first elevens to choose from.
The Reds will be desperate to turn around their poor first-half displays and get the players to find the confidence they played with last season – otherwise even top four might be a push.
Mo Salah was last year’s golden boot winner but has only scored two league goals so far