Gary Neville has delivered a scathing verdict on Liverpool‘s nosedive in form – calling Jurgen Klopp’s men ‘woeful in every single way’ and claiming they have lost everything that made them such a dangerous team.
Liverpool’s season is at risk of implosion after a sixth straight home loss to lowly Fulham at Anfield on Sunday, with the Reds looking bereft of confidence and now facing a huge fight to secure a place in the top four.
The reigning Premier League champions look unrecognisable from the team that was blowing opponents away last year after their 1-0 loss to Scott Parker’s men, and former Manchester United defender Neville believes this is more than just a dip in form – describing their plight as ‘an absolute collapse’.
Gary Neville has described Liverpool as ‘awful’ after their sixth straight home loss on Sunday
The Sky Sports pundit (R) believes Jurgen Klopp (L) and his side have ‘lost everything’ that made them such a dangerous team
He told the Gary Neville Podcast: ‘Liverpool have been absolutely outstanding and reached unbelievable heights – and I said a few weeks ago that it was acceptable and I would go easy on them that they would have a little dip after three years.
‘This is the fourth year. We could never do it a fourth year at United – there was always that dip. But this isn’t a dip. If we had a dip at United we might have finished second or third. This is a collapse, it’s an absoute collapse. They’re woeful at the moment in every single way. I’m not sure what it is.
Neville backed Klopp to turn things around but believes the German may need to ‘regroup’ and ‘wheelbarrow’ his players over the line to finish the season – but worries that Liverpool players may have little time to recover with the Euros coming up this summer.
He said Klopp’s priority has to be damage limitation and says the players will be ‘punishing themselves’ after so many years of success having won the Premier League and the Champions League back to back.
Neville says Liverpool have to ensure that their confidence is not damaged in the long term
He called their plight ‘an absolute collapse’ and believes players will be punishing themselves
‘I’m sure there’s no panic there at the moment,’ he added. ‘Jurgen Klopp has the experience and the quality and he’ll know ulitmately he needs to get this season finished, get this season over and limp over the line – wheelbarrow them over the line if he has to.
‘But then at the end of the season he’s gonna have to regroup, and then you think about the Euros and then the season will start again. His players aren’t going to get much of a rest. But they’re going to regroup and make sure the damage that’s being done in terms of the confience isn’t long standing. The fact they won the title and won the Champions League – it’s still the same group of players.
‘I never think in football it’s as bad as it looks. We always punish ourselves when we make a mistake [in TV] – that’s what Liverpool players will be doing, they’ll be punishing themselves. You can’t do what they’ve done in the last two years without being great professionals and great players. You don’t get to two Champions League finals and do what they’ve done without being a fantastic team.
‘But what’s happening right now is bizarre. It is bizarre.’
Neville said it was ‘bizarre’ to see Liverpool nosedive after so much success last season
He reiterated that Liverpool were clearly ‘a fantastic team’ after winning the Premier League and Champions League back to back
Neville – a long-time rival of Liverpools having devoted his entire playing career to Manchester United – admitted he was ‘having a laugh’ watching Liverpool’s rotten run of form after their years of supremacy, but insisted that Liverpool were currently an ‘awful’ team that has lost all of its best qualities.
‘I’m having a right laugh to be fair, I’m having a bit of a joke with the fact it’s been a difficult three years watching them do what they’ve done… but they’re awful.
They’ve just lost everything. It feels like they’ve lost absolutely everything they had. The speed of play, the confidence, the way in which Anfield was such a difficult place to go, the determination, resilience to win when they weren’t playing well. There isn’t anything there at the moment.
‘I don’t know how they get that back other than getting to the end of the season, they really are going to stuggle to get into the top four. The mood in the dressing room must be really low, absolutely drained out of them.’
The Reds are facing a battle just to claim a top four spot after their rotten run of results
Jurgen Klopp should be ‘unsackable’ after his achievements with Liverpool, Neville claims
Liverpool’s torrid run of results has raised doubt over the future of manager Jurgen Klopp, who has been linked with the Germany national team job amid reports Joachim Low could leave after the Euros this summer.
Steven Gerrard – who has just won the Scottish Premiership title with Rangers – is a natural contender to replace him given his legendary standing with the club, but Neville feels Klopp is ‘unsackable’ and urged Liverpool to throw their backing behind him after his remarkable achievements.
‘They have got a great manager who’s done a brilliant job – the owners have to trust him to put it right,’ Neville continued. ‘He’s done it for four or five years. He’s unsackable for the next five years for what he’s done at Liverpool.
‘He epitomises what they are, captures the essence of what they are as a club, plays outstanding football and allowed a really bad season and that’s whats happening by the standard he’s set.’