A former Anfield favourite thinks Jurgen Klopp’s side are now focused on Champions League qualification rather than defending their domestic crown
Liverpool would take a top-four finish right now, according to Jamie Carragher, who has admitted that the Reds’ title challenge is all but over.
The Premier League trophy was brought back to Anfield for the first time ever in 2019-20, with Jurgen Klopp’s side finishing 18 points clear at the top of the standings after an outstanding campaign.
Liverpool have been unable to maintain the same levels of consistency this season, however, as an injury crisis has significantly disrupted their progress amid the congested fixture scheduled caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Reds fell seven points behind leaders Manchester City after losing 1-0 against Brighton on Wednesday night, and Pep Guardiola’s side can extend their lead over the reigning champions if they win their game in hand.
The two sides are due to meet at Anfield this weekend, with Carragher of the opinion that anything less than a win will see his old club’s hopes of defending their domestic crown disappear completely.
“Andy Robertson has come out and said Liverpool aren’t in the title race, and I think that is the right way to look at it at the moment,” the former Liverpool defender told Sky Sports.
“Liverpool have to be looking at the top four positions, and to say the obvious, take each game as it comes because the form is so down.
“There are so many changes to the team that you are never quite sure what it’s going to be. Alisson was out at the last minute against Brighton and Liverpool are still waiting for players to come back.
“So I think from now, if you were to offer Liverpool a top-four finish they would take that and shake on it. That should be the mindset for Liverpool because that is what they are aiming for at the moment.
“If they could get back into the title race – and, to do that, they would have to beat City on Sunday – you could maybe see where they are with seven or eight games to go. Hopefully from Liverpool’s perspective, City could have some sort of drop.
“The run City are on at the moment is out of this world. It’s impossible to keep that going, City cannot win every single game so I would expect them to drop points at some stage.
“But the problem for Liverpool is that the gap is too big – and it certainly will be if they fail to win at Anfield.”
Carragher still believes Klopp can deliver a positive result against City despite his team’s erratic form, though, with the likes of Alisson, Fabinho and Sadio Mane in line to return after missing the Brighton game.
“There are no secrets with how Liverpool play, they have caused City huge problems before,” he said. “Guardiola has said this Liverpool team is the toughest he’s played against maybe in his managerial career.
“It’s not the Liverpool team we’ve seen in the last couple of years, but it will be different to what we saw against Brighton. Liverpool have been struggling to score goals against certain types of teams, but I wouldn’t class City as one of them.
“City aren’t a defensive team, they are very good defensively, that’s a big difference. It’s still a game Liverpool can win, even after the struggles and poor results they have had recently, and Guardiola will know that.”