Liverpool knew that it would be hard to keep up their fantastic start to the season – but they can’t have imagined 2017 going quite the way it has.
Since the turn of the year, they’ve won just one game in ten in all competitions, and that was an FA Cup replay against Plymouth.
The weekend’s defeat to Hull City was possibly their most embarrassing yet, which takes some doing considering their recent slip-ups against Swansea and Wolves.
Yet, it was a result that will almost certainly prove the final nail in the coffin for their title hopes.
It’s not one of those cases where the Reds were never really in it – by late November, they were top going into the international break.
The Daily Mail report that after the 2-0 loss to Hull, Jurgen Klopp let rip at his players, incensed by how cheaply they gave the goals away.
Simon Mignolet made yet another error, but there are bigger problems than the recurrent question over who should be in goal.
Klopp is also concerned by how easy teams seem to find it to hit his side on the counter-attack.
This is Liverpool’s worst start to a calendar year for 24 years. Many predicted January would be tough with Sadio Mane heading to the AFCON, but it also heralded the return of Philippe Coutinho.
Joel Matip made the decision to retire from Cameroon, but that’s brought further problems as he’s had to be sidelined anyway over questions of eligibility. In hindsight, he may regret it too, with his country ending up champions of Africa.
Ultimately, it looks like a question of mentality. Liverpool clearly have a formidable attack, but they seem to always step up more against the top six sides than against teams they should be beating.
Klopp is right to have reassessed his aim, stating he’ll be happy with a place in the top four. Currently, that’s far from a certainty, as the Reds sit a point outside the Champions League places, knowing there’s a huge amount riding on it when they welcome Tottenham to Anfield next week.