Liverpool began the 2022/23 campaign very well by beating Man City in the Community Shield. Whilst little more than a glorified friendly, the fine 3-1 victory in the traditional curtain-raiser would have given Liverpool fans a lot of hope for the campaign ahead. If it did, it proved to be false hope, however, as the Reds “enjoyed” one of their worst seasons in some time.
Reds Poor in Premier League
Liverpool finished fifth in 2022/23, which was their lowest PL position since 2015/16 when they finished eighth. Indeed, they only ended so high in the table thanks to a strong run of results at the season, as can be seen in the full list of fixtures below.
They were languishing in eighth with just eight games to go but ultimately finished the season with a run of 11 matches unbeaten, including seven wins in a row. This lent an air of respectability to the campaign but in truth for many weeks they were decidedly awful. After 20 games they had just 29 points and were down in 10th, far closer to the relegation battle than the title race.
They were not at their brilliant best at home but on the road is where they really struggled. Considering they lost just six games in total in 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2021/22 combined, the fact that they lost eight away games in 2022/23 alone is staggering. Pinpointing where it all went wrong for the Reds is tricky but there is no doubt that the loss of Sadio Mane, their aging midfield, and a drop in the form of Virgil van Dijk all played their part.
Liverpool’s Transfer Business in 2022/23
The form of VVD and other payers who had been so influential in the club’s success in recent years was a big part of Liverpool’s poor season. However, many fans would argue that it was hardly a surprise and that Jürgen Klopp and the board had sown the seeds of this terrible campaign by their activity, or lack of, in the transfer market.
The Reds’ net spend was estimated at around £50m, far less than some key rivals. Indeed, they ranked just 11th in terms of net spend over the season. Arsenal spent almost twice as much, Spurs around three times, Man United almost four times, and Newcastle, who finished third, over four times, with a net spend of more than £211m. Money talks and the Reds stayed quiet.
Whilst the club let Sadio Mane go to Bayern, most of the other outgoings were lesser squad players. They brought in Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo for a combined sum of £125m but neither performed to the level expected. The bigger issue for many fans was the failure to reenforce an aging midfield that no longer seemed to have the legs to play Liverpool’s brand of pressing football. That four of that midfield have now left the club, two on free transfers (James Milner and Naby Keita), and two to Saudi (Jordan Henderson and Fabinho), speaks volumes.
Liverpool in the Champions League
The Reds were second in the 2021/22 PL and so qualified for the Champions League once again, having narrowly lost the previous season’s CL final 1-0 to Real Madrid. That had been their third final appearance in five seasons and so hopes would have been high for a good run at the start of 2022/23.
Mirroring their league form, things began badly as they were hammered 4-1 in Naples. However, they bounced back in fine style, winning their five remaining group games to finish behind Napoli only on head-to-head goal difference. Their 2-0 win over the classy Italians at Anfield proved to be their last CL highlight of the campaign though, as they were thoroughly outplayed in the Round of 16 phase.
Real Madrid were once again their opponents and the Spaniards had certainly been fortuitous to beat the Reds in the final in 2022. In February 2023, it was very different, Klopp’s men embarrassed 5-2 at home before losing 1-0 in the return.
Liverpool Fall Short in FA Cup Defence
The Kop side had won both the FA Cup and the League Cup in 2021/22 but this term the aforementioned Community Shield would be their only silverware. In the Third Round they drew 2-2 at home against Wolves which meant an unwanted replay. They scraped through 1-0 and were then drawn away against Brighton in the Fourth Round.
Brighton were enjoying a fine campaign but even so, Liverpool supporters must have been optimistic of a decent result despite the bad performances their club were producing. It wasn’t to be, however, and the Seagulls won 2-1. This was the sixth time in eight seasons they had failed to make the Fifth Round.
More of the Same in EFL Cup
Sadly Klopp’s troops did no better in the League Cup, again exiting in the Fourth Round. Whilst they were eliminated by Man City in a 3-2 thriller at the Etihad, they had needed penalties to see off Derby in the previous round after a dismal 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Liverpool’s Top Scorers & Other Stats
Liverpool suffered a little through injuries during this campaign, although many of their best players did make a large number of appearances. Mo Salah played 51 times in all competitions, with Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Andy Robertson and Virgil van Dijk just some of the other players to appear 40 or more times.
Salah again delivered the goods in front of goal too, netting 30 in all competitions, including a very impressive eight in the Champions League. Nunez got 15 but just nine in the league, and will probably be remembered more for the chances he missed than the ones he took. The only other Red to make double digits in terms of goals in all competitions was Brazilian forward, Roberto Firmino. “Bobby”, now set to play in the Saudi league, notched 13 goals, including 11 in the PL.
As for assists, it was again Liverpool’s Egyptian King who topped the charts. The club’s top five assist-providers (in all competitions) were:
- Mo Salah – 16
- Andy Robertson – 11
- Trent Alexander-Arnold – 10
- Diego Jota – 8
- Kostas Tsimikas – 6