Liverpool are TOO SAFE and have run to the END, claims Gary Neville

Liverpool are TOO SAFE and it’s not just Thiago… they look mentally and physically drained, like they’ve run to the END, claims Gary Neville as he insists Jurgen Klopp and his faltering players ‘need an opportunity to reset’

  • Liverpool lost 4-1 at home to league leaders Manchester City on Sunday
  • Jurgen Klopp’s side have now lost three in a row in the league at Anfield
  • Defending champions are 10 points back on City, who have a game in hand 
  • Gary Neville has outlined a host of problems affecting the struggling champions 

Liverpool are physically and mentally drained and look like they’ve ‘run to the end’, claims Gary Neville – who has also put their slump down to their midfielders, including star signing Thiago Alcantara, playing too many ‘safe’ passes.

Jurgen Klopp’s champions have fallen 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, having played a game more, after Pep Guardiola’s men ran out 4-1 winners at Anfield on Sunday.

After a glut of injury problems and a run of four defeats in seven, Liverpool have seen their title defence aspirations go up in smoke, and Neville has called their run of form an ‘alarming dip’.

Liverpool’s players react during their 4-1 defeat at home by Manchester City on Sunday

Gary Neville believes that Jurgen Klopp’s champions are mentally and physically drained

Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast, he said: ‘Liverpool are, at this moment in time, nowhere near the team that has been absolutely exceptional for three years. 

‘I was light on Manchester City last year when they had that year off, having had three exceptional years of performance, and I’m going to be light on Liverpool this year because you can’t go every single year for four years. It’s inconceivable. 

‘There’s going to be a dip at some point and we’re seeing the dip, it’s an alarming dip, and it’s here at this moment in time.’

Liverpool were handed a lifeline when Ilkay Gundogan blazed a first-half penalty into the Kop, but City were ruthless in the second half and accepting of some generous gifts from goalkeeper Alisson.

Neville believes there was no lack of desire from Liverpool in their second-half collapse, but says they are struggling to keep up with their previously supreme physicality. 

‘I’ve been in teams that haven’t won titles in seasons, where your mind’s been there to say “actually, we can do this, we can catch these” but then your body goes out there and it doesn’t come with you. 

Neville has criticised Liverpool for playing too slow and too safe for much of this season

Neville believes Liverpool’s physicality is unable to match their desire to win on the pitch

‘Liverpool’s physicality at this moment in time is not allowing them to get back where they need to be. They’re still the same players, they’ve still got the same desire. I don’t think it’s a desire issue, I’m not looking at a group of players here that have switched off and had enough, that have climbed the mountain and are not going again. 

‘They just look drained, absolutely mentally and physically drained, like they’ve been run to the end.’

After 68 games without tasting a home defeat in nearly four years, Liverpool have now lost their last three at Anfield in the Premier League.

And Neville believes the loss of their home form has come from Klopp’s side playing too safe, and not backing their previously aggressive and direct style. 

‘This is a place where they’ve been invincible for so long. You never see Liverpool anything other than positive here. 

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson was culpable for two City goals after two dreadful errors

‘Even going back to where we were winning the league at Manchester United you’d come here, they were always positive, they were always front foot, they’re just really tentative. 

‘They’re playing extra passes, they’re not being as direct in their attacking. That will point towards Thiago, it’s not just him. Generally all across the team, they’re being more safe. 

‘Liverpool’s team over the last three years has been breathtaking, but they’ve played with risk all the time. 

‘The direct passes into the front three aren’t there, the risk in the game isn’t there, the running isn’t there and things aren’t falling for them. 

‘They’ve had injuries, four years of going for it at full pelt, the strange season that we have, a number of things can actually happen at once and it feels like the perfect storm. I don’t see it as being a massive concern.’

Ilkay Gundogan celebrates scoring his first of the game as City took control of the title race

Neville backs Liverpool to challenge again next year when they will have key players fit again, but says that they need to reset between now and the 2021-22 season. 

‘You could go down the route of “oh they’re one season wonders, they were never that great”. That’s not the right time to say these things. This Liverpool team have been great for three years and they need an opportunity now to reset in this next few months, come back next season and go again. 

‘That’s what Manchester City did last year. Manchester City were awful last season to the standards that they’d set themselves, but they’re now coming back to it.’

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