Saturday’s 3-2 win over Nottingham Forest saw Jurgen Klopp name the same starting 11 for three consecutive games for the first time in over three years.
The Reds came away victorious from a hectic second half which saw five goals in the space of 23 minutes, with two goals from Diogo Jota and a winner from Mohamed Salah enough to secure all three points.
Liverpool were unchanged for Forest’s first visit to Anfield in nearly 25 years, making it a third successive identical team sheet for the first time since January 2020.
As per Opta’s Michael Reid, it has been more than three years since the manager has stuck to an identical formula for this long in all competitions.
This is the first time since January 2020 that Liverpool have named the same starting XI three games running in all competitions. #LFC #LIVNFO https://t.co/WB04ZnEoVc
— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) April 22, 2023
Despite the return to fitness of Thiago and Luis Diaz, the manager opted to go again with the side that cruised to a 6-1 victory at Elland Road and came from two goals behind to earn a draw at home to Arsenal.
It is not a statistic that Klopp would have hoped to stand for such a lengthy period of time, but injuries and form have forced his hand and continued to cause alterations on a weekly basis.
Liverpool’s inconsistency has not been helped by the lack of continuity in the side and the seemingly endless fitness issues.
Only last month, it was revealed that the Reds had sustained comfortably more injuries than any other Premier League side, with a total of 162 instances of players being unavailable.
It should perhaps come as no surprise that league-leaders Arsenal‘s figure (79) was less than half that of Liverpool’s, with second-placed Man City‘s total coming in even lower at 49.
It is also worth noting that the last three fixtures in which Liverpool have fielded the same side it has prompted a significant upturn in performance levels.
“I saw rhythm, but we have to show that we can keep rhythm,” Klopp explained prior to kick-off against Forest.
The Reds made a disappointing return from a 17-day break by being thrashed 4-1 by Man City at the start of the month and followed it up with an uninspiring showing during the goalless 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Since then, they have picked up seven points from a possible nine and have looked twice the team that were humbled at the Etihad just weeks prior.
Klopp’s side now face a sprint to the finish with seven games in the space of five weeks, where it is likely rotation will be needed in order to keep legs fresh and finish the campaign strongly.
Injuries have certainly been a burden to Liverpool in recent months, but the improved performances with an unchanged side gives fans reason to be optimistic heading into the closing stages of 2022/23.