Four reasons why Liverpool won't win the EPL this season
Klopp's team are still a work in progress and title talk is over-exaggerated
(Martin Skrtel 69-og, Georginio Wijnaldum 90+3)
Juergen Klopp's mission of transforming Liverpool from doubters into believers has run into a harsh reality check.
Defeat by Newcastle United yesterday morning (Singapore time) has dampened talk that the Reds could emerge as surprise contenders in the battle for the English Premier League.
Here are four reasons why the title will not be finding its way to Anfield this season.
1 Unable to break small-club syndrome
For all the fanfare surrounding Klopp's demolition jobs at Stamford Bridge and the Etihad Stadium, the same old problem exists - losing the must-win games that invariably proved their undoing in previous title bids.
A struggling Newcastle United managed by a beleaguered Steve McClaren did not deliver the goal-fest that many had anticipated.
That small-club syndrome has continually held Liverpool back. Even Klopp has fallen foul of it with the defeat at St James' Park following an indignant reversal to Palace last month.
Consistency is a trait sorely needed before they can end their 25-year title drought.
2 Lack of depth in key areas
Klopp has largely excelled with the squad he inherited from Brendan Rodgers but is currently threadbare in several key departments.
Martin Skrtel's own goal was unfortunate but, similarly, a timely reminder of why Liverpool's squad are in severe need of an overhaul.
Both the Slovakian and Dejan Lovren continue to inspire little confidence as a pairing in central defence while Roberto Firmono proved ineffectual, as did Christian Benteke.
A lack of available midfield options during Emre Can's suspension came home to roost as Joe Allen failed to fill the void left by the German enforcer.
The inevitability of injury means that Klopp's current crop cannot last the distance against the EPL's elite just yet.
3 There is still no Plan B
When confronted with questions about Liverpool's Plan B, Rodgers famously responded that it was "to make plan A more effective". That lack of contingency has yet to come into play under Klopp, too.
An apprehension to over-exert his squad in their fifth game in 16 days was understandable, particularly with Liverpool's players now covering an additional 6.5km per game on average, but squad paucity was not the sum of the German's problems.
The lack of an alternative game plan signalled the beginning of the end for Rodgers.
Klopp will have to address those continued shortcomings after Newcastle were allowed to stifle his high-pressing style with ease.
4 Klopp has yet to stamp his identity
It is easy to forget that Klopp's early tenure has been clouded by mitigating circumstances.
Liverpool's current squad and infrastructure still very much belong to the Rodgers regime.
Hopes of a legitimate title challenge remain as ambitious as Rodgers' previous bid to see out the season in the Anfield hot seat.
Klopp has been keen not to rip up the blueprint of his predecessor too ruthlessly, instead choosing to enforce incremental changes. The true extent of the Klopp effect will not be felt until next summer at the earliest.
That is when the former Borussia Dortmund coach will firmly stamp his identity on his Liverpool charges in both personnel and philosophy.
I didn’t say before we were title contenders, so why I should say now that we’re not? So I’m sorry.
— Juergen Klopp insists that he never considered his team as potential EPL champions this season
I’m worried about him because the one thing United don’t want is Liverpool to get above us. He’s going to make a difference at that club with his personality, drive and knowledge. Things are looking up there.
— Former Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is worried about the Klopp impact on Liverpool