Liverpool fans have spotted a strange flaw that has become a trend in winless run

A set-piece, in the last minute of a game, with Liverpool facing either a draw or defeat…and it goes short, not into the box. It is a situation that has flummoxed fans.

The Reds are in the midst of a frustrating run of results that has derailed their Premier League title defence approaching the halfway stage.

Without a victory in four games, Jurgen Klopp‘s side have drawn with West Brom, Newcastle and Man United and suffered a 1-0 defeat to Southampton, with Sunday’s 0-0 with United prompting a drop down the table.

United had already taken top spot with a 1-0 win over Burnley in midweek, but now three points for both Man City and Leicester have seen Liverpool drop from second to fourth.

To make matters worse, sixth-placed Everton have a game in hand and are only two points behind, while Tottenham are only a point off the champions ahead of their meeting on January 28 – albeit with the Reds to play Burnley next on Thursday night.

Liverpool have not been comprehensively beaten in any of their last four outings, not by any stretch, with two 0-0s, a 1-1 and a 1-0 evidence that fine margins are at play, and the lack of a finishing touch has been the clear problem throughout.

Therefore, it is glaring that in three of their four winless games, the Reds have been handed a big opportunity late on through a set-piece only to squander it by opting for a short delivery.

This was highlighted by Liverpool writer Josh Williams, who pointed out wasted situations – beyond the minimum amount of stoppage time – against West Brom, Southampton and United:

Williams is not alone in sharing his frustration at this, with a host of supporters and journalists questioning the approach on Twitter after the game:

There is, of course, an obvious explanation for this, with Liverpool suffering from a lack of height in the absence of their regular centre-back options, namely Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip.

It should be noted, though, that against both West Brom, the Reds had the six-foot-plus Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Rhys Williams and Divock Origi on the pitch, while against United there were Fabinho, Henderson, Origi and Curtis Jones.

Furthermore, the delivery of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and in particular Xherdan Shaqiri is arguably maximised from long range.

LINCOLN, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 24, 2020: Liverpool's Xherdan Shaqiri during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Lincoln City FC and Liverpool FC at Sincil Bank. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

One corner from Shaqiri on Sunday, whipped onto the goalline, caused United a real problem that could have been exploited more often, as even with a supposed lack of height it is a gamble worth taking in stoppage time.

In the past, Klopp has praised his backroom staff, and assistant Peter Krawietz in particular, for their creativity in devising goals from set-pieces.

But now it appears as though a lack of invention, or perhaps simply common sense, has deprived Liverpool the prospect of late, late chances that could have turned a point into three, or zero into one.