Michael Owen claims even Lionel Messi would struggle in this Liverpool side

The former Liverpool striker made the claim as he defend the form of new signing Cody Gakpo.

Former Liverpool star Michael Owen believes that even Lionel Messi would struggle in Liverpool’s current set-up amid their poor run of form that could see them miss out on Champions League football.

Liverpool played out a goalless mid-table draw against fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea at Anfield over the weekend, as the Reds, once again, struggled to truly find any sort of spark that could turn their season around.

That was compounded by the fact that Mohamed Salah struggled to muster a single shot on target for the third successive Premier League game in a row.

Furthermore, January signing Cody Gakpo started the game but also struggled to make an impact, making it four games without a goal since joining from PSV.

Gakpo, 23, had been in stunning form before joining Jurgen Klopp’s side – netting 13 goals and registering 17 assists in just 24 appearances so far this season. But has struggled to get going so far and that continued at the weekend as he wasted a couple of good chances in both half’s against Graham Potter’s men.

Amid his troubles, former Liverpool ace Owen believes that the forward shouldn’t be judged too harshly for his form because the overall form of the team is detrimental. He also went onto make the claim that even newlt-crowned World Cup winner Lionel Messi, a player regarded as the best in the world, would struggle to make an impact in this side.

Speaking to Premier League Productions, Owen said: “I feel sorry for him {Gakpo] actually because he’s coming in to a team that are really inconsistent and drained of all the confidence that we’ve seen in the past.

“He had a couple of half-chances and it’s clear he’s trying. I’m sure he’s going to be a good signing for the future but at the moment, I would defy even Lionel Messi to come in and look good in this team because it’s really struggling.”

That draw at the weekend sees Liverpool’s remain in ninth place, 10 points off Manchester United in fourth place and 21 points off leaders Arsenal – it’s certainly a season no one expected from Klopp’s men.

Next up is Brighton away in the FA Cup at the weekend, before they face three Premier League games against Wolves, Everton and Newcastle and welcome Real Madrid to Anfield in the Champions League in a repeat of last season’s final.