Liverpool’s tendency to drop points against “lesser lights” has seen them mirror the Manchester United side of the 1980s, says club legend Graeme Souness.
The Reds have fared admirably against fellow top-four hopefuls this season, claiming positive results against Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.
They also emerged victorious in the first Merseyside derby of the season, with the return date in that rivalry due to be taken in after the international break.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have, however, been unable to sustain a Premier League title bid after coming unstuck against teams that they would be expected to beat.
Souness says that was a trait of the United sides he faced in his heyday, when Liverpool were the dominant force in England and the Red Devils were waiting to spark into life under Sir Alex Ferguson.
He wrote in a column for the Sunday Times: “Liverpool supporters will be mystified by their team.
“They play well against the big guys and slip up against the lesser lights. When I played for Liverpool, Manchester United were like Liverpool are now.
“Against the big clubs, they would turn up, but they would suffer daft defeats and draws against the also-rans.
“If you are going to win this league, that’s something you have to get right. We were constantly reminded of that at Liverpool when we were either European champions or defending league champions.
“They would say to us, ‘This might not be the biggest game of your season, but it is for the guy across the corridor’.”
Liverpool really need to resolve their issues, with Everton the highest-ranked side they are left to face this season.
A top-four challenge at Anfield will either be built or destroyed on the success the Reds enjoy against opponents currently occupying mid-table or bottom-half berths.
Klopp’s men are inside the Champions League places at present, but they are only four points ahead of Manchester United and have played two more games than their arch rivals.