McManaman picks out five ‘reasons’ why Liverpool have dropped off this season
Steve McManaman thinks the departure of Sadio Mane is one of the “reasons” why Liverpool have struggled so much this season.
The Reds have had a poor season by their recent standards with the club looking likely to end the season without a major trophy, although they did win the Community Shield at the beginning of the campaign.
Liverpool narrowly missed out on an unprecedented Quadruple last term and had to settle for an FA Cup and Carabao Cup double instead.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have really struggled to build momentum this season but three wins in their last four Premier League matches has seen them move up to sixth in the table.
Liverpool, who are already out of the FA Cup, look likely to exit the Champions League too after losing the home leg of their last 16 clash against Real Madrid 5-2.
And McManaman has listed the “reasons” for the huge drop off by Liverpool this season, he told Betfred: “I think there are a few reasons to be honest. Their workload last year, as well as losing the Champions League final, would take a toll on most footballers. Losing Sadio Mané is obviously a big issue too because he was a super player for them.
“The fact that Luis Díaz and Diogo Jota have been out for a while has meant that it’s been hard for Darwin Núñez and Cody Gakpo coming in and being expected to press and perform like Díaz, Jota and Mane have done, straight away.
“That press from the front is hard to replicate and I believe Liverpool have lost that with Mané leaving and the others being injured. Liverpool have begun to change the way they play recently.
“Confidence is a huge issue because they’re not playing well and they’re getting beaten. I believe the players now are not as confident as they once were, so they try the easy pass and they try and not lose the ball. That affects them in the sense that they don’t want to go forward as much.
“Injuries play a huge part in any football team and to lose four or five of your best players is never going to help. I’ve played in football matches, you know when things are going wrong and you just need to work hard, try and replicate it and get back on the pitch.
“It’s not just one thing and it’s not that they’re all tired. I’ve heard people debating whether the squad is too old now, which is something I don’t agree with at all because it was only six months ago where they had the opportunity of becoming the best team in the history of football.
“You don’t just have a summer off and then your legs are gone. That doesn’t wash at all. There’s usually a number of factors which will either get you back to the top or which will make you struggle.
“I do believe they need reinforcement and some of the reinforcement which they’ve had in midfield hasn’t been of the same quality, but it will take a while for them to get back to their very best and some players are going to leave in the summer and some are going to come in.
“Their season, up to now, has been really poor in comparison to the lofty heights they reached last season but I don’t believe it’s a disaster by any means. They’ll know where they need to strengthen and they’ll move forward from there.”
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