Liverpool loses again at home as EPL title defence collapses

·2 min read

After going 68 Premier League games unbeaten at Anfield, Liverpool has slumped to back-to-back losses at the stadium that was its impenetrable stronghold for nearly four years.

The latest defeat — to lowly Brighton — left the champions' title defence on the brink of collapse.

Just like against Burnley two weeks ago, Liverpool was beaten 1-0 by a team battling to avoid relegation. Jurgen Klopp's team dropped seven points behind leader Manchester City, which has a game in hand and is on a nine-match winning streak.

City is the next visitor to Anfield, on Sunday. A win for Pep Guardiola's team may effectively knock Liverpool out of the title race — with more than three months of the season remaining.

Seeking to regain the title it relinquished to Liverpool last season, City produced another dominant display in overwhelming Burnley in a 2-0 victory at Turf Moor.

That restored City's three-point advantage over second-place Manchester United, which won 9-0 over Southampton on Tuesday. City has played a game less than United, too.

Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling scored first-half goals as City won a 13th straight game in all competitions — a run of victories stretching back to Dec. 15.

While City has conceded just two goals in 13 league games, Liverpool's issues in defence continue as it struggles to overcome the likely season-long absence of Virgil van Dijk. They weren't helped by goalkeeper Alisson Becker missing out against Brighton because of an illness.

The title might soon be gone for Liverpool, and a place in the top four is hardly guaranteed.

The Reds are in fourth place but only two points ahead of fifth-place West Ham, which won 3-1 at Aston Villa. Everton is two points further back in sixth after beating Leeds 2-1.

Leicester moved above Liverpool into third place with a 2-0 win at Fulham.

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Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80

Steve Douglas, The Associated Press