Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa
Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa

Liverpool's 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday was met with an unusual sense of relief around Anfield for a side that had just clinched a 22nd consecutive home league win and moved 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Such has been the Reds' relentless run towards a first league title in 30 years that three defeats in three different competitions in four games was considered a slump in form.

A 3-0 reverse at Watford deprived Jurgen Klopp's men the chance to match Arsenal's invincible unbeaten league season and a FA Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea means they cannot replicate Manchester United's treble of 1998/99.

However, the most damaging of the trio of defeats could still prove to be the 1-0 deficit they must overturn when Atletico Madrid travel to Anfield for the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday. When at their best, Liverpool have shown they are more than capable of second leg fight-backs at home. Most spectacularly when Barcelona were humbled 4-0 in last season's semi-final despite holding a 3-0 first leg lead. However, there are cracks in the English champions-elect's armoury that Atletico can expose.

After keeping 10 clean sheets in 11 league games between early December and mid-February, Liverpool have conceded in each of their last five games.

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Free Press Journal