Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum admits the players are experiencing a situation most have never been in before but insists they cannot afford to play the “victim role”.
The 2-0 defeat in the 238th Merseyside derby was the first time they had lost at Anfield to Everton since 1999. But, worse still, it was their fourth successive home league defeat -their worst run since 1923.
Injury to captain Jordan Henderson now leaves Jurgen Klopp without five options at centre-back while the goals have dried up at Anfield with just two goals – one of which was a penalty – in the last eight hours and 48 minutes.
The defending champions have slumped from top of the table on December 30 to sixth, three points outside the top four, and without fans inside the ground to offer their support there could be a tendency among the squad to feel the season is falling apart.
But Wijnaldum stressed that must not happen.
“This is a new situation we are in right now. In the previous seasons when we created so many chances, we always scored a goal,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“And now we’re in a period where we create a lot of chances but don’t score the goal. It’s frustrating, especially when you’re on the pitch and you’re playing.
“You don’t want to feel sorry for yourself and don’t want to go into the victim role.
“You just want to deal with the situation and try to bring it to a better end, or a good end, even if you know that you have a lot of injuries.
“I think that’s how we should look at the situation, not be the victims but just try to turn it around.
“We have a lot of games to turn it around – if we’re going to look at the situation as victims it’s going to be worse.
“What we can do is just try to give everything, try to keep confident and work all together to bring it (the season) to a better end.”
Liverpool are still alive and kicking in the Champions League, holding a 2-0 lead from the last-16 first-leg tie against RB Leipzig after a midweek performance which stood out as being markedly different from much of what has been seen in the last two months.
Klopp trying to build on positives
Klopp has seen positives in a lot of those matches and knows he must try to build on those elements to prevent the battle for a top four place becoming even more difficult.
He refused to accept, however, his side had plateaued after three seasons of success.
“Not all the games were the same. We were dominant in most of the games. In the decisive moments we make either a mistake, or something strange happens,” he said.
“That’s how it is: if we make a mistake it’s pretty much 100 per cent that the opponent scores from it and if we force them to make mistakes, it doesn’t mean we will immediately score.
“It’s no explanation to say that for three years we are really good and in the fourth it’s normal that we struggle.
“I don’t see any relation to the last three years. The boys are still full of desire but to change football games and results you have to be decisive in the offensive and defensive moments and that is what we are lacking.
“I don’t like to talk about the good parts of the (Everton) game because we lost the derby but from tomorrow on we have to use it again.
“We cannot change the situation by playing bad, that’s not possible, but in decisive moments we have to improve, that’s clear.”