Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann admits its now ‘a distinct possibility’ the Reds could miss out on a place in the top four this season.
The reigning Premier League champions suffered the latest blow in their run of terrible home form, as Jurgen Klopp’s side were thumped 4-1 by title rivals Manchester City at Anfield.
Liverpool are now facing a huge task to successfully defend their title… and even finish in the top fourGetty Images – Getty
It was Liverpool’s third straight defeat at home, with their incredible unbeaten streak now well and truly over – could it be the end of their title defence hopes too?
City, who have now won ten league games in a row and haven’t lost since November, are ten points clear of the Reds at the top of the table and five points clear of second-placed Manchester United, with a game still in hand.
Liverpool remain in fourth place, but only just, after a run of only two victories in their last nine games, with Chelsea and West Ham just a point behind and even ninth-place Aston Villa only five adrift.
Hamann says Liverpool’s defeat to City proved the Reds are miles away from Pep Guardiola’s side.
Phil Foden was superb as Man City were too much for the champions, sealing their 14th straight win in all competitionsGetty Images – Getty
And he claims this horrible run of results has left Klopp’s men in danger of missing out on a Champions League spot – something unthinkable at the start of this campaign after winning Champions League and Premier League titles in successive seasons.
“For me, Sunday’s game showed that Man City are far superior and are in a different place than Liverpool,” Hamann said on Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast.
“I think it’s very possible [Liverpool won’t make the top four] . They won’t catch City, they are ten points above them with a game still in hand.
“United are pretty efficient at getting points, you’ve got Leicester and now you’ve got Chelsea too – they had a bit of a second wind since Thomas Tuchel took over – and then you’ve got Spurs, they might come back.
“I think it’s a real distinct possibility.
“Liverpool haven’t been playing well now for a while, and Virgil van Dijk won’t be back and [Joe] Gomez won’t be back. They’ve bought [Ozan] Kabak in, and he looks a capable player, but they need to see how long he needs to settle in.
“I just can’t see Liverpool with the way they’re playing at the moment, going on a run of three, four or five games, whereas if you look at the likes of Leicester and Chelsea I think they’re capable of doing that.”
Some Liverpool fans appear to have had enough of Klopp and their team’s slump this season, with a supporter even calling into talkSPORT this weekend to call for Steven Gerrard to replace the German.
That fan was not alone, either, with pressure now piling on Klopp like never before during his reign in charge at Anfield.
Hamann has defended the manager, however, saying he is not solely to blame for Liverpool’s recent collapse, but he admitted the pressure is only likely to increase when European football returns.
“If they do miss out [on the top four] , the fans will not be happy… but I think you can make a case for Klopp if he were to miss out,” added the 2005 Champions League winner.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had a day to forget with two big mistakes which led to goals for Man City, with Jurgen Klopp consoling the Brazilian at full-timeAFP
“The owners made it clear they wouldn’t spend last summer, even though they brought in Thiago, and they let one or two go.
“And if you look at City and Chelsea and the amount of money they’ve spent, then I think you can make a case for Klopp.
“He’s done tremendous things and Liverpool have really set the bar over the last two seasons, they’ve been absolutely brilliant, winning the Champions League and the Premier League.
“But things are turning for the first time since Klopp took over. So far it’s all been uphill, but now it’s the first time there’s a bit of criticism, he’s a bit loose in interviews where he gets a bit impatient.
“So I think it’ll be a very interesting period now because they’ve got big games coming up in the league and they also play in the Champions League again against a RB Leipzig team that’s in good form at the moment.”