LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 6, 2022: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk looks dejected as Fulham score their second goal from a penalty kick during the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool’s slow starts: A major issue that needs to change – fast!

You never want to be playing catch-up, but what Liverpool once did to their opponent is exactly what they have fallen victim to, in a trend that needs to be kicked to the curb.

Reds have grown accustomed to seeing Jurgen Klopp‘s side start quickly, press high and blow the opposition away both in and out of possession.

But that has not been the case of late, with the Reds instead putting themselves under pressure by allowing their opponents to gain the upper hand with an early lead.

It puts Liverpool on the back foot from the off, as we saw at Fulham, and it’s a habit that has been carried over from the backend of last season to the start of this one.

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Wednesday, July 27, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp speaks with the assistant referee after his side are denied an injury time penalty during a pre-season friendly between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In the last nine games in all competitions, Klopp’s men have conceded the first goal on seven occasions, requiring one fightback from 1-0 down after another.

It is a statistic that writer Joel Rabinowitz brought to attention on Twitter after the latest incident over the weekend.

The trip to Craven Cottage made for the fifth Premier League game in a row that they have conceded first, with Liverpool 1-0 down within 13 minutes in three of those matches.

Fulham: 1-0 down on 32 minutes
Real Madrid: 1-0 down on 59 minutes
Wolves: 1-0 down on 3 minutes
Southampton: 1-0 down on 13 minutes
Aston Villa: 1-0 down on 3 minutes
Tottenham: 1-0 down on 56 minutes
Villarreal: 1-0 down on 3 minutes

From those seven games that Liverpool conceded first, they went on to make a successful recovery four times, not inclusive of the Champions League final, of course.

You could look at turning four early setbacks into victories as a positive but game management starts from the beginning of the match, not only when a lead has been acquired.

That goals have been conceded after just three minutes in three of the last nine games suggests it could be a mindset issue early doors, or even a tactical setup that is not going to plan.

It’s a far cry from the blistering starts the Reds have been famed for, and it’s a weakness the opposition will all look to exploit until the issue is addressed.

Individual lapses have also played their part but they’re moments Liverpool cannot continue to gift to the opposition in what is a long and taxing season.

Playing the comeback kings can feel euphoric a time or two but with the Reds pushing for the title and other silverware this season, they cannot afford to gift the opposition a head start. It is not sustainable.

Let’s hope Fulham is the beginning of the end for this particular trend.