Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk insisted that injuries are to blame for the team’s form after West Ham held them to a 1-1 draw on Monday.
The Reds dropped two valuable points in the Premier League title race against the Hammers at the London Stadium, despite taking the lead through a Sadio Mane strike after 22 minutes.
Michail Antonio levelled the scores six minutes later and Jurgen Klopp’s men couldn’t find the winner thereafter, in a below-par performance which maintained their stuttering run.
Liverpool have won only two of their six games in 2019 and after their latest setback, Manchester City are now only three points behind them in the league table, with 13 matches left to play.
Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all sidelined through injury at the moment and according to Van Dijk, the one key issue behind their faltering title charge is their list of notable absentees.
“I think all players who’ve come in have enough quality to do the job – but when you have a back four that doesn’t change that’s maybe a little bit easier,” Van Dijk said post-match, as per the Daily Mail.
It ends all square at the London Stadium.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 4, 2019
“We take it game by game, we’re still top of the league. We’re still in the race…so we need to be our best for the rest of the season.”
Next up for Klopp’s side is a home clash against Bournemouth on Saturday, which they must win to put the pressure back on Manchester City, who take on Chelsea on Sunday.
The Premier League crown is still technically in Liverpool’s hands, but they must now rediscover the consistency which saw them storm clear at the top of the standings in the first half of the season.
Alexander-Arnold is due to return to training later in the week, which should provide Klopp with a real boost heading into their latest clash at Anfield, but Joe Gomez will not be back until March as he awaits back surgery.
This year’s title race looks like it will go right down to the wire, but Liverpool cannot afford any more slip-ups, especially as the defending champions seem to be hitting their groove at just the right time.