One step forward, two steps back. The more things change...
This is where everything's gone wrong. This is where Liverpool have failed. Not away against good opposition, where Liverpool have space, where Liverpool over-perform. Not in the marquee matches. Away against teams that Liverpool *should* beat, away against teams Liverpool seem to assume they'll beat.
And then they don't. Because Liverpool perpetually struggle to break down a deep defense and Liverpool perpetually do something stupid in defense.
It's made vastly worse, and vastly more difficult when you unnecessarily concede in the second minute. That's when you get 0-3 at Watford and 0-2 at West Ham and 1-3 at Swansea and countless other matches in seasons past.
This match saw every one of Liverpool's previous failings, exacerbated ad infinitum.
Liverpool concede early because they gave the ball away in their own half. Liverpool concede later on a counter-attack with everyone upfield. Liverpool routinely and horrifically fail with everything in the attacking third. Liverpool resort to speculative-at-best shots from distance that almost totally fail to trouble Tom Heaton.
Liverpool haven't been able to break down teams who sit deep and are well-organized for so many seasons in a row it's not even funny. Yes, it happened less with Luis Suarez, but it still happened with Luis Suarez. It was a distinct problem under Brendan Rodgers, and with nine months of Jürgen Klopp, it remains a problem.
And when that's the case, you probably shouldn't gift the opposition a goal within 90 seconds: Clyne's give-away to Gray with Liverpool trying to build from the back, the striker sliding a pass through to his partner for a wonderful finish from the top of the box, Liverpool's defense completely out of position because they're transitioning to attack and don't expect to concede possession in that position.
You may remember similar happening for Arsenal's first goal just six days ago.
Unlike last week, Coutinho couldn't conjure an equalizer from nothing – not for a lack of trying. And failing. Unlike last week, Burnley didn't give Liverpool an inch of space in the final third.
And when Liverpool conceded a second – Sturridge losing possession in the final third, Defour charging upfield, somehow getting around Klavan before finding Gray, who cleverly worked space for an impressive left-footed strike – that seemed that, despite 53 minutes remaining.
Incidentally, Liverpool have now conceded from each of the last five shots on-target they've faced. The only shot Mignolet's saved since the 7th minute against Arsenal was a penalty. Taken individually, it's hard to fault him for any of the goals, but it's also a trend we've seen before.
The struggle is real, and we've also seen that before. Liverpool completed almost six times as many passes as Burnley, Liverpool had 81% possession. Liverpool completed more than twice as many final third passes as Burnley completed passes in total. Liverpool took 26 shots, Burnley took three shots. But 17 of those Liverpool shots came from outside the box. Just five of those 26 shots were on-target: four from outside the box, and only two which remotely troubled the keeper. 23 Liverpool crosses, but just three found a Liverpool player, and just one – a set play in the last minute – led to a shot. 12 Liverpool corners, zero chances created.
The 4-3-3 formation seemed a problem, weak and uncreative in midfield, without the space needed for runners to make an impact. Sturridge ostensibly on the right seemed a problem, putting Liverpool's best natural goal-scorer further away from goal. Milner rather than Our New Favorite Scapegoat seemed a problem, Liverpool missing width and pace on the left. The substitutions seemed meaningless – Origi for Sturridge, Moreno for Milner, Grujic for Lallana – just different pegs in the same problem holes with the game probably already gone. It's easy to scream, "play 4-2-3-1, play 4-4-2, do something different!" But we've seen Liverpool similarly bad in similar matches with different players, different formations, and different managers.
Let's be fair to the opposition. Burnley's shape was fantastic; Burnley's center-backs blocked, headed, and cleared everything; Burnley's two goals were exceptionally well-taken. But Liverpool seem to have a special talent for making the opposition look that good.
This couldn't have gone worse. The players were bad, the tactics were bad, the substitutions didn't help. The only positive is that no one got hurt.
Well, that and Liverpool might learn a lesson. It is only the second week of the season, after all. That they haven't yet doesn't bode well, but we needed the reminder. Not everything was fixed with last week's euphoric win. There are more matches like this than there are matches like last week's.
There are still miles upon miles to go to even come close to achieving anything.