Former European Cup-winning captain Graeme Souness has admitted he is worried about his former sides ability to cope with the demands of both Champions League and Premier League football this season.
This comes as Jurgen Klopp prepares to take his team to Russia ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League meeting with Spartak Moscow.
As reported in the Independent, speaking at the launch of Stoptober, a 28-day stop smoking challenge starting on October 1, the TV3 Pundit said:
“They had a clear run last year (a season without European football) but there’s no doubt about it more games means you need more players and I don’t think he’s got that strength in depth.
“If they were to have a bad run of injuries and some key games came along it would hurt them badly.
Souness looked to Liverpool’s Manchester rivals as an example of clubs who got their targets in early during the summer transfer window and as a result are in much better shape should they start picking up niggling injuries.
“Manchester United could survive, it wouldn’t hurt City at all and those are the two teams you look at to do well in both competitions. They have stronger squads to pick from.
“What has happened with the Champions League is teams are focused on the next (European) game and not the (Premier League) one in front of them.
“You have to get results in both competitions.”
The former Newcastle United boss questioned the decision of Klopp to try and only sign Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk for his central defence without having a viable back up option as is common with other clubs, if targeting a central defender was his priority.
“The fact he went out on such a limb to get Van Dijk, didn’t get him and has not got anyone since then tells you that was an area he was trying to strengthen.
“That he was willing to pay such big money for a defender suggests that is his priority going forward.”
Liverpool have had a mixed start to the season that has seen them concede eleven goals already in the Premier League compared to table toppers, Manchester City and Manchester United shipping just two goals each.
Klopp’s men have already been eliminated from the Carabao Cup and face a huge week travelling to Russia for Tuesday’s clash with Spartak Moscow before making their way to St James’s Park to meet Newcastle United.
After only managing a draw at home to Sevilla on the opening match-day of the Champions League, Klopp knows three points are vital Tuesday night.
As for Sunday, already five points off the pace, three points in the Premier League are also crucial to their long-term goal of participating in the group stage of the Champions League once more next season.
Whether Liverpool’s squad can cope with the demands we will see. Souness for one has his doubts.
Damien McEvoy Pundit Arena