Rio Ferdinand plays down Liverpool’s Champions League hopes due to team’s defence

Rio Ferdinand

“If van Dijk and Gomez aren’t there, they don’t win the Champions League.”

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has dismissed Liverpool’s hopes of winning this season’s Champions League unless some key players return from injury.

Ferdinand believes that Liverpool’s defence isn’t good enough to compete against the better teams in the latter stages of the Champions League.

He added that unless Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez make a return to the lineup, the Reds cannot be considered as contenders for the trophy.

Liverpool.

Liverpool faced off against RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Reds managed to pull off a comfortable 2-0 victory on the night and a commanding 4-0 victory on aggregate, earning them a spot in the quarterfinals.

With Van Dijk and Gomez currently sidelined with injury, manager Jurgen Klopp opted to field Nathaniel Phillips and Ozan Kabak as the centre-back pairing.

Despite their lack of experience, both defenders managed to impress against Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig.

Ferdinand: Liverpool defence not good enough.

Ferdinand appeared alongside fellow pundit Michael Owen on BT Sport after the game and discussed Liverpool’s hopes of winning the Champions League.

“You can rule out certain teams in the Champions League, but you cannot rule Liverpool out,” Owen said of Liverpool’s chances.

“Okay, (the) form isn’t there at the moment but that was a stepping stone tonight. Just as quickly as your form can go, it can come back again.

“There are not many teams where you can go: ‘Yeah, definitely they’re good enough to win it’.”

However, Ferdinand disagreed and claimed that the Reds’ defence would not be able to cope with some of the competition’s better teams.

“Not with that defence, though. Come on,” Ferdinand responded.

“If van Dijk and Gomez aren’t there, they don’t win the Champions League, for me, at all.

“There’s Bayern, there’s Man City, PSG – those teams will be licking lips if they come up against a centre-back partnership like that at this level.”

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