Trent Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool can have no excuses for their poor Premier League form as they have failed to do the basics this season.
The reigning champions are fourth in the table and seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who travel to Anfield on Sunday and also have a game in hand.
Liverpool have already lost four league games this term, which is one more than in the whole of their title-winning campaign of 2019-20.
That includes back-to-back losses at Anfield in the top flight for the first time since September 2012, having previously been unbeaten in 68 matches on home soil.
After storming to the title last term by an 18-point margin, a year on from going all the way in the Champions League, Alexander-Arnold accepts his side took winning matches for granted.
“Once you get accustomed to winning all the time, which we have been doing in the previous two seasons, you do get used to the feeling and you start to kind of expect it,” he told Sky Sports.
A game that creates plenty of emotions…
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 7, 2021
“That’s probably the trap we fell into this season in that we expected to win games because we’re good enough, something will happen and we have that quality to find a goal from somewhere, which happened naturally last season and the season before.
“But really breaking it down, that didn’t just happen because we were lucky, it happened because we worked hard, doing the basics and fundamentals right until the very last minute.
“That really worked in our favour. The fact we were still doing it meant we were creating the right opportunities that we could score from.
“I think maybe this season we’ve forgotten a few of those fundamentals and we’ve just expected us to do that because it became so natural for us to do it.
“Every team goes through periods like this. You can’t expect anyone to keep winning every single game, especially in a league like the Premier League.
“It would be wrong of us to expect that from ourselves and for people to expect it of us. We want to, but I think in the back of our minds, we all knew this period would come at some point.”
Liverpool have not been helped by long-term injuries sustained by Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez earlier in the campaign, with fellow centre-back Joel Matip now also out for the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have kept just six clean sheets in 22 league games this term – only seven teams have a worse return – conceding in each of their last four outings.
But Alexander-Arnold, who has come in for criticism this term, insists injuries alone are not to blame for the Reds’ drop-off in form.
“We’re a team that’s not going to sit here and make excuses,” he said. “There are no excuses on our behalf because we’ve lost a few centre-backs and we haven’t got fans – that’s the same for everyone.
“We’ve had a few injuries but that’s football, you can’t blame anyone for that. It’s about us being able to adjust and adapt to the situation. We haven’t done that as well as we would have liked to.
“With people talking about our centre-halves, it’s not like we’re conceding three or four goals a game. It’s more about one goal, not keeping a clean sheet and not scoring at the other end.