Are Liverpool struggling to score in regular play for more than six hours? Is the team losing their competitive advantage at a critical moment? Could Klopp's goodbye be ruined?


Jurgen Klopp rallied to the defence of his Liverpool forwards after his side crashed out of the Europa League 3-1 to Atalanta on Thursday. 

With so much to play for, Liverpool were poised to make this season one to remember and deliver an epic send-off for their departing manager.

Yet, amid the pressures of chasing a Premier League title and a spot in the final of the Europa League, the Reds have underwhelmingly fallen flat in the past fortnight. 

Klopp’s side have staggeringly, by their own standards, not scored from open play in their last six hours of competitive football across all competitions.

Liverpool have not scored from open play in their last six hours of competitive football

Liverpool have not scored from open play in their last six hours of competitive football  

Jurgen Klopp took to the defence of forward Mohamed Salah's form after returning from injury

Jurgen Klopp took to the defence of forward Mohamed Salah’s form after returning from injury

Liverpool crashed out of the Europe on Tuesday after suffering a 3-1 aggregate loss to Atalanta

Liverpool crashed out of the Europe on Tuesday after suffering a 3-1 aggregate loss to Atalanta 

That will come as a worrying figure for many Liverpool fans. But interestingly, the concern is not that Liverpool are struggling to create chances. It is simply that they are not putting them away. 

Is that down to fatigue? Is the pressure mounting on Liverpool? Or are they just enduring a purple patch?

Mohamed Salah is one player in the Liverpool forward line who has come under scrutiny for his form in front of goal following his injury lay-off. 

Despite scoring a penalty, Salah was the point of discussion after Thursday’s game, with Klopp brushing off doubts over the Egyptian’s form, claiming ‘I’m not particularly concerned.’ 

On the pitch, it’s been a difficult few weeks for the Reds, who suffered a setback in the title race, following their 1-0 defeat by Crystal Palace at Anfield.  

While they certainly not out of the title racec yet, Liverpool have lost their killer instinct just at the time when they perhaps needed to show it most.

Against Palace, they struggled to make good their opportunities, amassing 21 attempts, but only having a meagre six of those chances on target.  

In their last four games in all competitions, Liverpool have had 43 touches in the opposition box per game, according to Opta. That is higher than their season average of 36, showing that the Merseyside outfit are getting into dangerous areas. 

Their expected goals tally (excluding penalties) is up on their season average, too. Liverpool have had an expected goals ratio of 2.27 per game in their last four matches – compared to their average of 2.07 for the whole of the 2023-24 campaign. 

Salah scored a penalty during their game on Thursday night, with Liverpool winning 1-0

Salah scored a penalty during their game on Thursday night, with Liverpool winning 1-0 

Darwin Nunez has been put in the spotlight this season after missing multiple chances on goal

Darwin Nunez has been put in the spotlight this season after missing multiple chances on goal 

The Uruguayan missed another chance against Crystal Palace on Sunday from close range

The Uruguayan missed another chance against Crystal Palace on Sunday from close range 

Liverpool’s shooting stats  
Liverpool – All Competitions 2023-24  Last four games  Per game  Season total Per game
Goals  0.75  128  2.46
Total shots  78  19.5  1039  20.0 
Shot conversion rate  3.8%  12.3%  – 
Touches in opposition box  172  43.0 2006  38.6 
Expected goals  10.7  2.67  117.9  2.27 
Expected goals (excl penalties)  9.1  2.27  107.7  2.07 
*figures courtesy of Opta         

But Klopp’s side are just lacking that clinical edge. In their last four games, Opta say they have had 78 shots, 19.5 per game on average. Of those shots, they have managed to convert a meagre 3.8 per cent. That is a substantial drop off from their average per game throughout this season, which sits at 12.3 per cent.

Against Crystal Palace, Liverpool had 21 goal attempts and their expected goals ratio shot up to 2.97 – but Klopp’s side only managed to get six shots on target from those chances.

The debate over Darwin Nunez’s scoring form has also been a big talking point this season, with the spotlight again shining on the Uruguayan forward after Sunday’s match, after he became the second player to miss more than 25 big chances this season – second only to Erling Haaland.

Nunez could have equalised for the Reds during the game, too, after his thumping shot from 10 yards out was kept out by Dean Henderson. 

The 24-year-old is an exciting prospect and has shown signs that he is growing into the Premier League, scoring 11 goals so far this season.   

But Liverpool’s issues in front of goal are beginning to cause problems. No side has had more ‘big chances’ missed than any team this season, with 62. Meanwhile, no other team has hit the woodwork more than Liverpool, who have struck the goalposts 20 times this season. Nunez, interestingly, has hit the goal frame nine times.

Klopp claimed he was 'not concerned' over Salah's struggles to find the back of the net

Klopp claimed he was ‘not concerned’ over Salah’s struggles to find the back of the net 

But as Man City have shown in the past two campaigns, coming alive in the final few months of the season is pivotal to helping seal success. This is no doubt an area where both Liverpool and Arsenal – who are in need of a new striker this summer – must improve to usurp the Treble winners.    

As they toil amid the woes of their lack of goals from open play, Klopp has urged patience and believes his top scorer, Salah – who is fourth in the Golden Boot race with 17 goals this season – will bounce back. 

‘I’m not particularly concerned, he said of the Egyptian’s form after he scored a penalty against Atalanta on Thursday. That’s what strikers do. 

‘We have to go through it, he has to go through it. He is one of the most experienced players in the squad. 

‘It’s not that Mo didn’t miss chances before in his life, that’s part of the game. The penalty was super convincing, then the next chance was unlucky, but it’s not the first time he has missed chances like that. I won’t make a big story of it.’



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