The Reds were at the top of the table with a 25-point lead when Covid-19 forced a halt to the action, with the last nine games of 2019/20 being played in June and July.
The Premier League standings since the return of clubs after the Coronavirus suspension in March clearly show where Liverpool needs to improve.
Liverpool is only third in the Premier League table of matches since the lockdown, and it is clear what is keeping the Reds away from the top spot.
A ranking of the games of the 17 clubs that played in both Premier League seasons, shared by Nick Harris of Sporting Intelligence, gives an interesting insight into which teams performed best in the matches during the pandemic, all of which were of course played behind closed doors and without the presence of fans.
Jurgen Klopp’s men sealed the title shortly after the start of Project Restart and are now second in the standings after the first six games of the 2020/21 campaign.
Manchester City leads with 32 points from 15 matches, while neighbor Manchester United is in second place with 28 points from 14 matches, which is in line with Liverpool’s average of two points per match, but the goal difference of +13 points is better than for the Reds (+8).
And even though it should be noted that Liverpool played the last seven matches of last season after the title was already sealed, there is a clear issue that Jurgen Klopp would like to raise if the Reds want to keep their crown and draw level with Manchester United in 20 league championships.
Liverpool is in third place in the “lockdown league table”, having scored 30 points in the 15 league matches played, on average exactly two points per match.
While the Reds are the second highest scorers in this period with a total of 34 goals, surpassed only by City’s 42 goals, the most telling indicator is the column of conceding goals, where Liverpool is the second highest of the 17 participating clubs with 26 goals, with only Newcastle and Crystal Palace scoring more.
It could be argued that these figures are somewhat distorted by the aberration at Villa Park earlier this month, when Liverpool allowed seven goals for the first time since 1963, and by the fact that Klopp’s side were somewhat demobically happy in the last seven matches of the previous season after the title bouts had been completed.
It was always clear that Liverpool’s unprecedented form at the start of last season, winning 26 of the Premier League’s first 27 games, with the draw with Manchester United last October being the only game they failed to win, was freakishly brilliant and would probably never be repeated.
But it doesn’t change the fact that after only 21 goals conceded in the first 29 games of last season – an average of 0.72 per game – this average rises to 1.25 per game, as the Reds have since scored at least two goals in six of the 15 league games and have only held four clean sheets in that time.
But despite the obvious difficulties in attempting to remedy this relative defensive slump without the totemistic figure of Virgil van Dijk, Jürgen Klopp will know that rear support will be necessary if the Reds are to fight for the highest honors again at the end of this campaign.