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Klopp has made a mistake in Liverpool's title challenge as Reds' squad isn't even as good as United's: Carragher

 

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Jamie Carragher.

Jamie Carragher.

Jamie Carragher.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has revealed huge doubts over his old side's ability to maintain their title challenge.

The Reds have been held to frustrating draws by Leicester City and West Ham in their last two outings and, in truth, both oppositions had enough chances to comfortably down Jurgen Klopp's struggling side.

In the end, slack defending from a set-piece in each game was enough for the league leaders' early leads to be pegged back.

With injury worries mounting, the lack of quality depth in the panel is hurting their title challenge, according to Carragher.

Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have rarely been convincing as they deputise for the injured Joe Gomez while Naby Keita continues to frustrate in place of Gini Winjaldum in centre-midfield.

The inclusion of a misfiring Adam Lallana in the starting line-up at West Ham and the rolling of the Divock Origi dice when in dire need of a winner spoke volumes about the differences in the squads of the top two.

During Manchester City's win over Arsenal, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus were introduced from a bench that also included Leroy Sane. What Liverpool would do for those options to put pressure on their front three who are, at the moment, failing to click.

But it's at right-back, where Jordan Henderson and James Milner have been deployed in place of the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, that Carragher feels Klopp has a question to answer.

“I said yesterday Manchester United have a better squad than Liverpool. People may have thought it was a strange thing to say but I think we’re seeing little signs of it,” the former defender began, speaking on Sky Sports.

“On the right back situation, Klopp’s made a mistake letting (Nathaniel) Clyne go (to Bournemouth on loan in January). I know there were a couple of injuries but you don’t need to let him go — keep him there.

“At the moment James Milner has played there twice now and watching him you can’t quite believe he played left back so well for so long. He looks like someone completely out of position.

“Keita, who he paid big money for looked quiet and keeps losing the ball. Firmino doesn’t look himself. Salah we didn’t see anything from tonight.

“I think that’s a worry going forward, not in terms of this pressure in the lead, more that when there’s a few injuries in different positions it doesn’t look like that solid Liverpool side we’ve seen for the last few weeks."

Liverpool are still three points clear with 13 games remaining but Carragher reckons they might cope better if that lead evaporates.

"If Liverpool go one or two points behind City or Tottenham, it might not be the end of the world," he continued. "They are trying to hold on their this lead and maybe they don't like it. Liverpool have not had a blip this season and it may just be a case of that, but they have not stopped the talk that they are not enjoying the pressure.

"Liverpool are not alive, they are not streetwise enough defending set-plays. Also, teams can see that they can slide it down the side of the defence as well now so there are a few issue there now. They should have lost the game against Leicester and they could have lost at West Ham as well.

"I would not say Klopp has to earn his money now, but he is the big figure in that dressing room. That is not a dressing room full of winners. James Milner won a title at Man City, but Klopp has done it before in Germany and he is working with a set of players looking to win their first title.

"This is not a time to panic. Liverpool are still right in the title race. They are a fantastic side and they will come back. They will win five or six matches in a row, but they have to respond now and prove this is just a blip."

Manchester City will leapfrog the Reds tomorrow evening should they see off Everton at Goodison Park, albeit having played a game more than their title rivals.

Belfast Telegraph