Graeme Souness says Liverpool should forget about retaining their Premier League title following defeat to Manchester City – and concentrate on not dropping out of top-four contention.
The Reds were crowned champions on England for the first time in 30 years last season, seeing off the challenge of closest rivals City.
But their title defence has not been going according to plan.
Jurgen Klopp’s men suffered a third consecutive home defeat on Sunday, losing 4-1 to Pep Guardiola’s side.
That sent City five points clear of second-placed Manchester United at the top of the table, with a game in hand on their main rivals.
Liverpool are back in fourth spot, 10 points adrift of the leaders, a point ahead of fifth-placed West Ham and only three ahead of Everton, who have a couple of games in hand on them.
Tottenham and Chelsea are also lurking in range of the Reds.
Liverpool were still in the City game after a goalless first half at Anfield but Ilkay Gundogan made up for his earlier penalty miss by opening the scoring soon after the interval.
Mohamed Salah equalised for the hosts from the penalty spot but two big errors in quick succession from goalkeeper Alisson gifted further goals to Gundogan and Raheem Sterling.
Phil Foden then rounded off the scoring for City to compound a miserable day for the home side.
Liverpool legend Souness has now written off his former club’s hopes of winning the league this season.
“I think so, I don’t see them coming back from that,” he told Sky Sports. “I think how I saw the game today – City were the better team, nothing in the first half but City were the better team in the second half.
“They go in front, Liverpool get themselves back into it, fortunately through a penalty and then Alisson has made mistakes he doesn’t normally make and that gave such a boost to City and they went into another gear.
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Manchester City blew yet another team away this week, dispatching Liverpool 4-1 away from home.
Is the title all theirs already?
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“The final goal was the young man on another level. Without Alisson’s mistakes, is it a close game? 4-1, does it flatter City? I think so, a touch, it’s very easy to go overboard now and say 4-1, but Alisson – who we don’t usually associate with making mistakes – has made the result a flattering one for City.
“The race has run for Liverpool, the big thing now for them is concentrating on getting into the top four because that’s not a given.”