With Liverpool failing to win any of their last four Premier League outings, they are no longer straddling their usual top spot of the table and with such a downturn in form, many are asking questions about the current ability of such a talented group of players.
Much of the focus this season has been placed upon Liverpool’s lack of available defensive personnel and the litany of combinations that Jurgen Klopp has had to use, on both domestic and continental fronts.
However, with the defending league champions having only scored one goal in their last four matches, it is perhaps the line of attack that now needs questioning and although nobody can doubt their footballing aptitude, there are questions regarding their sharpness.
The triumvirate of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino have caused torment for opposition defences in the past two seasons and with manager Klopp seemingly unwilling to rotate, signs of burnout are seemingly becoming more evident.
Signs that perhaps could have been avoided, if the man in charge of the Merseyside machine placed more trust in the fringe members of his squad, members such as Belgian Divock Origi and Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri.
With Origi and Shaqiri kicking their heels on the substitutes bench, Liverpool’s attacking trio have been given little respite this season and although the arrival of Diogo Jota from Wolves eased their burden slightly, there is a sense that Klopp still has his favourites when it comes to team selection.
Then again, when it comes to favourites and the former Borussia Dortmund manager, this is an accusation that can be levelled across the whole team and with in-game replacements being few and far between, this seems to be only adding to the problem regarding fatigue.
With the German being so vocal in the desire to be granted the ability to make five Premier League subs, there is a feeling of bewilderment at present. A feeling generated, by his steadfast refusal to make any of three substitutions that he is already permitted.
If their maximum allocation is not being used with anything resembling regularity, then it is exceedingly difficult to make a case for even more and this is where both Liverpool and Manchester City’s managerial pleas fall on deaf ears.
While although enough votes have been garnered to block such an amendment, you get the feeling that this push for change will not go away soon and with player welfare continually at the fore, this summer’s European Championship may also feel the brunt of it.
Of course, that is of no real concern to Liverpool’s head steward, especially as none of this front three will be called into tournament duty. However, the likes of captain Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson will certainly want to arrive at the competition as fresh as possible.
With so much football being crammed in to such a short amount of time, any player who is called up for international duty in June and then must represent their country after such a busy season, may be all but running on fumes.
While it is these fears of player burnout which will be of concern to Gareth Southgate, as the England manager is constantly keeping an assessment on the Liverpool stars that he will hope to call upon.
While because the issue of fatigue is so prevalent at present, it could have a bearing on the tournament odds and with sportsbook websites already taking a flurry of bets on who will be the eventual winner, it only needs an injury to alter the odds dramatically.
Of course, when it comes to odds and who will be champions of England come May, Liverpool no longer find themselves favourites and with burnout being such a prevalent factor in this, one wonders if this team can find a much-needed ignition spark.
In fairness, they have not necessarily been playing bad as such, its more that they haven’t been performing to the levels that everyone knows that they are capable of and although it is good news for the rest of the division, it is bad news for the Anfield outfit.
Ultimately, players do not become bad overnight, degradation is more of a gradual process and after hitting such heady heights over the past two years, are we now seeing Liverpool’s collective engines run out of steam?