Keane called Liverpool ‘bad champions’ after their defeat by Leicester.
Dietmar Hamann has hit back at Roy Keane’s withering assessment of Liverpool by saying that the Irishman’s criticism of the Premier League champions was ‘completely exaggerated’.
Keane offered a typically cutting review of Liverpool’s season after their 3-1 defeat by Leicester City, calling them ‘bad champions’ with Jurgen Klopp’s side having slipped to sixth in the table.
“We spoke before the game about them making a lot of excuses, to me they’ve been bad champions,” said Keane.
🗣 “They are making a lot of excuses, to me they’ve been bad champions.”
Roy Keane has not been impressed with Liverpool’s mentality this season pic.twitter.com/jjxyCdnhwM
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) February 7, 2021
“We spoke about some sort of drop off (this season), they won the league last year and they believed their own hype and thought ‘we could beat other teams’.
“When you win the title, you think, ‘can we get it again?’ I never thought that from this group. They went, ‘Let’s enjoy this.’ I never heard any of the players saying ‘Let’s do it again.’ Now we’re talking about the top four and it being their target.”
Speaking to Sportbuzzer, Hamann issued a stout defence of Liverpool, explaining that the Reds’ misfortune lies with their defensive injuries.
Hamann responds to Keane.
Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both suffered serious injuries earlier this season, while Joel Matip has also had his fitness issues this term.
“Keane’s criticism is completely exaggerated. The problems can be explained,’ said Hamann.
“Not only is [Virgil] van Dijk missing, but Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are also. If the entire central defence isn’t there, even Liverpool can’t do anything.
“Thiago should pull the strings, but he still seems like a foreign body to me.
“Then there is the short break, the hassle of games. Freshness, dominance and impact are missing.
“In their heyday, they stole the air from opponents to breathe. Right now, they have to work very hard for every win, but I’m not really concerned about Liverpool.
“Klopp has achieved great things. The foundation for lasting success is in place.”
Liverpool ran away with the Premier League last season, claiming their first title in 30 years by 18 points.
Jurgen Klopp: “A football team is like building a house. If something is not right the wind comes straight through it. But we are Liverpool and nobody is happy with being fourth and level on points with Everton.” #awlfc [telegraph] pic.twitter.com/Ho6Lk84o0q
— Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) February 16, 2021
‘I don’t think we can close the gap’ – Klopp
However, following their collapse against Leicester on Saturday, Klopp’s men find themselves 13 points adrift of leaders Manchester City with the German admitting that a defence of their crown is now highly unlikely.
“Yes. I can’t believe, but yes,” Klopp told Sky Sports.
“I don’t think we can close the gap this year, to be honest. We have to win football games, and a large part of our game today was very good.
“What we need to try to avoid are mistakes and misunderstandings. In two situations today we didn’t do that and that’s how they were allowed to score two goals. Results are massively related to the performance – we were good enough today to win the game apart from a couple of mistakes towards the end.
“Before the game, we all knew that Ozan [Kabak] is a really good player and we know that afterwards as well but he’s not used to all the things we do. Ali [Alisson] is offensive and likes to come out of his goal.
“When you are new together, this usually happens but it happens in pre-season. Unfortunately, we’ve not had that. We’re not worrying about the title, we’re not silly.
“We have a tough game on Tuesday and then the derby next week. That’s what we’re thinking about.”