Liverpool took a step closer to reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday night – but Roy Keane was not impressed.
Jurgen Klopp’s side rallied in the second half to overcome Maribor 3-0 at Anfield courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge, but the Ireland assistant manager was still focusing on their defence.
Analysing the match for ITV’s highlights programme, Keane opined that Liverpool are ‘going nowhere fast’ under Klopp and feels that they will be nowhere near the front of the queue when it comes to handing out the trophies at the end of the season:
“It’s hard to figure out Liverpool at the moment. It’s hard to get excited about them because they’re going nowhere fast. They’re neat and tidy, but defensively?
“Come the end of the season, when the prizes are given out, Liverpool will be nowhere near them because at the back, there’s question marks over the goalkeeper.
“If Liverpool were playing in my back garden, I wouldn’t watch them. They’re just drifting nowhere.
“It’s easier said than done getting some defensive players in because the market is pretty small,” he added. “We saw Manchester City get full backs for £50million or £60million. Maybe Liverpool aren’t at that level.
“They need more than one defensive player. They played nobody tonight. The big picture going forward, they’re well behind the other teams.”
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) November 2, 2017
Liverpool have now kept clean sheets in five of their opening seven games at Anfield this season after Wednesday’s shutout, fellow pundit Lee Dixon joined Keane in taking aim at the Reds’ defensive unit:
“They are a team without any defensive mentality. It’s okay to blame the back four but it’s not about that, it’s about where they lose the ball.
“They had this high press which seems to have deserted them at times. If you get through the first press, they have nothing behind that. Their balance is all wrong and their goalkeeper has let them down at times.”
Liverpool have earned eight points in this year’s competition so far and sit atop of Champions League group E. Depending on the result of the match between Spartak Moscow and Maribor, they can clinch qualification to the last 16 with a win against Sevilla later this month.
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we assess each Premier Division team’s season as a whole, and look ahead to this weekend’s FAI Cup final between Cork City and Dundalk.