‘They like the slow game’ - Man Utd icon says Liverpool have been ‘punching above their weight’ for some time
Jurgen Klopp’s side will surely need a win against Man City in this Sunday’s match to keep alive any hopes of a Premier League title challenge.
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Liverpool’s league season could be defined this weekend as they welcome the title favourites and reigning champions to Anfield on ‘Super Sunday’.
The Reds currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and 13 points behind their next opponents - Manchester City. It may only be their ninth league fixture of the campaign but anything other than a win will surely make it all but impossible for them to mount a serious title challenge. Instead, their focus may have to shift to ensuring they can reach the top four while progressing in the Champions League.
With just two wins from their opening eight league matches, it’s a far cry from the form previously seen at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp and one pundit has had his say on the poor start. Manchester United icon Gary Neville has said the Reds now prefer “the slow game” when approaching matches and believes they have ‘punched above their weight’ in recent seasons in the context of how much money they have spent on players compared to the likes of City and United.
In an interview with The Overlap, carried by the Liverpool Echo, he said: “I’ve praised Liverpool and Klopp for the last five, six years for the levels they’ve reached – it’s been off the scale – but I felt before the game Arsenal fans were expecting to win. I felt Liverpool were just flexing their muscles a little bit in the first half, but that second half alarmed me. I’m not talking about playing badly, I’m talking about the physical depression in their performance that seemed alarming to me.”
He added: “When he [Klopp] first came in, the first two years was frantic. It wasn’t really a polished team; it was just brilliant to watch and exciting. Then they became good at possession – and you had the pressing, the counter-attack. They like the slow game now, but the frantic bit, the pressing has gone, and that was everything to me about a Klopp team. The emotion of last season is just catching up with them and not having anything in the tank this season. I can look back on moments where that’s happened. Jurgen Klopp has just been punching above his weight for so long when you look at the net spend of all the other teams, and what he’s achieved has just been off the scale to be competing with that [Manchester] City team.”