Liverpool will end 2020 as they started; top of the league summit.
The Reds are only three points clear of Manchester United, however, having played a game more.
The Reds failed to beat Newcastle, of course. They created chances but just couldn’t finish – a disappointing way to round off a successful year.
The result did, however, point towards an unfavourable Liverpool trend.
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
Jurgen Klopp and his team lead the league in draws, after all. And there away record is woeful, with just two wins from eight this season.
Big Fabinho claim
And Crooks thinks that Liverpool’s title chances hinge on Fabinho’s ability to remain durable for the rest of the season.
“When I heard Virgil van Dijk was out for the best part of the season I immediately thought ‘there goes the title,” he said, as per BBC Sport.
“The situation was further compounded when Joe Gomez suffered a long-term injury shortly afterwards.
“Two centre-backs who were so vital to Liverpool’s fortunes were no longer available. Suddenly Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City all thought they were in with a chance.
“Well that was before Fabinho moved out of Liverpool’s midfield and into their back four and performed like a colossus. With Joel Matip now added to that casualty list, should anything happen to Fabinho it really is curtains for the champions.”
What RTK has to say
Fabinho’s influence on Liverpool this season, of course, cannot be overstated.
Once again, Fabinho managed to uphold his ridiculously high standards, even on a night where the team collectively were disappointing.
The Brazilian international is unstoppable at present. His influence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip has been gargantuan.
With that said, Crooks has a point. Fabinho has become far too indispensable at such a critical period of the season.
At the moment, Klopp is able to rotate between Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams to partner Fabinho in defence, despite being extremely inexperienced.
If an injury were to unfold, opposition teams would likely target the inexperienced defensive duo, given their lack of game time.
Klopp will be desperate for his newly-established defensive lynchpin to remain injury-free, despite Liverpool’s heavy fixture list in the coming weeks.