Liverpool were well beaten by Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon in yet another setback to their top-four hopes as they suffered a third successive defeat across all competitions. The Reds actually took the lead through Mohamed Salah but ended the afternoon humbled 4-1 by the team that edged them to the Premier League title last season.
And the loss - Liverpool's ninth from just 28 league games this term, their eighth away from home - provided another reminder for Jurgen Klopp that his team's defence is a terminal problem. The Merseyside outfit have leaked 33 times in 27 games this term, having conceded only 26 goals in the whole of the 38-game campaign last season.
In fact, across all competitions, Liverpool conceded 48 times in 63 matches last year. This season, that number is 54 in 40 games. The deterioration is painfully evident.
And their reverse at City means it is now nine times across all competitions this season that Liverpool have conceded three goals or more in a single game. They had already done so in defeats to Real Madrid, Wolves, Brighton, Brentford, Manchester City, Arsenal and Napoli and in a draw with Brighton.
The manner of the first two goals that they conceded in Manchester - six-yard tap-ins completely unopposed - will leave Klopp bewildered. But while the German has been somewhat handicapped by injuries at times, he must also take blame - he has had a say in their poor recruitment which has led to an understrength midfield.
And more crucially than that, he has had plenty of time in the season to address Liverpool's issues tactically. While several Players at his disposal are notably on the decline - namely Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Virgil van Dijk - there is still little excuse for how many times the Anfield club have been well, well beaten this season.
Liverpool already knew they need to spend this summer. Klopp said pre-match: "We will spend in the summer, that's what I can say definitely. The club will spend in the summer, definitely." This performance and result showed why.
Klopp is expected to target at least two midfielders with Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount and Matheus Nunes all targets but central defence must also be a reason for concern. This was in theory their very strongest back four and yet they conceded multiple clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
Of course, City can do that to any team with the quality they possess. But this is not the first, nor probably the last, that Liverpool will give up so many chances in a match. Were it not for the fact that statistics show Alisson has saved 75 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this term, their standing in the table could be significantly worse.
Alisson has had to make more than double the amount of saves as his Brazil team-mate and City shot-stopper Ederson, who only faced one shot on target on Saturday. That is an issue Klopp needs to address, both immediately - for the Reds to have any chance of snatching Champions League qualification - and in the summer to avoid this decline becoming a long-term problem.