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‘Anfield games are easier for smaller clubs now’ – Liverpool have suffered in the absence of fans, admits Shaqiri

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The Swiss winger says the Reds have dearly missed their supporters during their unsuccessful Premier League title defence

Anfield games are “easier” for smaller clubs now according to Xherdan Shaqiri, who admits Liverpool have suffered in the absence of their fans.

Last season’s Premier League champions have allowed their grip on the title to slip without putting up much of a fight in 2020-21, losing nine and drawing seven of their fixtures to fall 28 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Six of those defeats have been suffered at Anfield, with Shaqiri conceding the Reds are no longer the force of old on home turf with supporters still unable to attend matches amid the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s been said?

“Everybody knows how our fans are when they push us,” the Swiss winger told Sky Sports. “Everybody knows how many games we have managed to come back in if we concede a goal.

“I think there are many, many games where you can see that, many examples. Of course, we miss them a lot.

“For the smaller teams, it is easier to come to Anfield with no fans. There is no pressure. You can see that in many ways and in many games. The smaller teams have more of a chance.”

Liverpool’s Anfield woes

Jurgen Klopp’s side had gone 68 Premier League matches unbeaten at home, the second-best record in the competition’s history, before coming up against Burnley on January 21.

The Clarets ran out 1-0 winners on Merseyside thanks to a late Ashley Barnes penalty, with the final result sparking a dramatic downturn in fortunes for the Reds.

Liverpool have lost all five of their subsequent fixtures at Anfield, with Brighton, Manchester City, Everton, Chelsea and Fulham all picking up victories.

The defending champions have only managed to score once in that period, and won’t have the chance to bring the unwanted streak to an end again until April 10 when they host Aston Villa.

What’s next?

Liverpool got back to winning ways by beating RB Leipzig last week to qualify for the Champions League quarter-finals, and will be in Premier League action away at Wolves on Monday.

Klopp’s men must pick up another victory in order to keep their top-four hopes alive, with Shaqiri confident that the German head coach can get the Reds back on track.

“We are trying. We just need to improve performances and then I am sure we can succeed again,” he said. “We have to stay positive and work hard. This club has to be successful. It has to be at the top.

“We speak a lot together and the coach gives us the right directions. I don’t want to tell everyone what is said in our dressing room but we are speaking a lot and we know we have to come back stronger and give what he wants on the pitch. We have to stay positive.”

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