5 reasons why Liverpool have themselves to blame for their 2017 woes

Liverpool are without a win in the Premier League in 2017 and have won only one match in all competitions.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool in October 2015 Reuters

Liverpool have endured a disappointing start to this calendar year and it is poles apart that the one they had in the first half of the 2016-17 season.

Out of all the matches played across all competitions in 2017, their only win came in the FA Cup third round replay against Plymouth Argyle. Lucas Leiva's first goal in as many years was the difference between the two sides as the Reds progressed to the fourth round, only to crash out following their 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The Merseyside club have only won once in 2017 and that victory now holds no significance as they have been knocked out of the FA Cup. This came days after their elimination from the EFL Cup at the hands of Southampton.

Jurgen Klopp has seen his side struggle in the second half of the season and if their downfall has to be blamed on anyone, then Liverpool have only themselves to blame. Sportskeeda look at why the Reds have struggled in all competitions this season.

1. Defensive woes

Out of the top 10 teams in the Premier League, Liverpool have the third worst defensive record after conceding 30 goals - behind West Ham United (41) and Watford (40) - who are sitting in ninth and 10thspot respectively.

Liverpool had defensive woes even when Brendan Rodgers was in charge and after he was replaced by Klopp, there was a belief that the German manager would fix the Reds' leaky defence. He brought Joel Matip, along with Ragnar Klavan to the club last summer.

This was done by allowing Martin Skrtel leave the club, while Mamadou Sakho was kept out of the first team. Basically what Klopp did was balance the numbers, while failing to strengthen their back four.

Apart from Nathaniel Clyne, Klopp kept on changing his central defenders for whatsoever reason. His only backup was Klavan, while Joe Gomez was recovering from injury. He started the season with only three first choice centre-backs, while James Milner was slotted in the left-back position, ahead of Alberto Moreno. It is another position that Klopp failed to address.

2. Goalkeeper

Loris Karius arrived at Anfield to provide competition to Simon Mignolet. Things did not go as per the plan for the German stopper due to the injury he suffered in the pre-season. After his recovery, he was thrown straight into the starting lineup, something neither Klopp nor the keeper could have avoided.

Even before he could settle, he was involved in a war of words with Gary Neville off the pitch, which did no good to him or Liverpool. This was further fuelled when Klopp also commenting on the situation.

A drop in form forced Klopp to revert to Mignolet, whose errors have kept costing Liverpool points over the years and it is still costing them points.

Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius are battling for the No 1 spot at Liverpool Reuters

3. Lack of squad depth

Liverpool does not have the squad to compete with the likes of Chelsea and the Manchester clubs for the title. One could argue that the Reds are not in the European competitions, an argument which holds good in the case of Chelsea as well.

There are no quality players to replace Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane or Philippe Coutinho from the bench, barring Daniel Sturridge. However, the England international's injury woes coupled with poor form has also not helped Liverpool.

In addition to this, there are no defensive minded players in the midfield apart from Lucas and Emre Can (to an extent). The rest are all attacking minded players, who are fielded in the center of the pitch.

Liverpool need someone like Nemanja Matic or Fernandinho in the center of the pitch to do the dirty work, when needed. Unfortunately, they do not have much options, both on the pitch and in the bench. Lack of players in the defensive midfield position can have its impact on the back four as well.

4. Lack of activity in January

The managers in the Premier League are against doing a signing in January. With Mane missing the majority of January due to his participation in the 2017 African Cup of Nations with Senegal and Sturridge failing to adapt to Klopp's plan, it was evident early in the season that Liverpool needed an out-and-out striker.

Christian Benteke was allowed to leave and was not replaced by a quality striker, which has also cost the Reds. Liverpool needed to strengthen their spine and they have decided against addressing it in January, which could cost them a place in the top four.

5. High pressing games

The clubs who sit in the lower half of the table have identified how to frustrate Liverpool by playing defensive. Klopp and his men have a very good record against the top six teams and have struggled to replicate with the lower teams.

Liverpool's four defeats were against Burnley, AFC Bournemouth, Swansea City and Hull City. It looks like Klopp does not have a plan B when his Plan A is not working. There are not many options on the bench, who can change the course of their game alone.

If you analyse all these problems - there are even more trouble at Anfield - one has to blame Liverpool, their board and Klopp for the woes they are in at the moment.