Former Liverpool star Steve McManaman believes his former team perform better against higher calibre opposition and is confident they will pick up a positive result against Tottenham this weekend.
McManaman made 364 appearances for Liverpool, over a nine-year spell, and briefly returned as an academy coach under Brendan Rodgers. He told the club website he expects a much better performance from the players against Tottenham, after a dismal defeat to struggling Hull last weekend.
“They were fine against Chelsea and I think they’ll be fine against Tottenham. They are better against better opposition at the moment.
“The other teams they have faced, recently certainly, have made it hard for Liverpool to break them down; they have been condensed, let Liverpool have the ball wide and closed the options down for them.
“Tottenham, the way they play and the personnel they have, it will be a completely different game and I think Liverpool will be alright.”
That defeat against Hull made it five Premier League games without a win, but the former England winger is confident things will turn around if the players remain positive.
“You have to still demand the ball and know that if things are not going right the crowd will groan, because that’s what happens to every football team across the world.
“You have to still demand it, you have to still try to take your man on and still be positive. Things will turn around. They’re all very good players.”
Despite their poor recent form, Liverpool are unbeaten against the top six sides this season. In seven games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United, they have won three and drawn four.
It is a brilliant record and shows they can match the bigger teams. However, their form against lower positioned teams is cause for concern. McManaman says they must find a different way of winning those matches. He also re-iterated he’s not worried about them against better opposition.
“Liverpool have to find a way of beating these sides, not just by dominating possession but when they do get wide, the quality of balls into the box and how they are going to break teams down. They are going to be the tricky games.
“Against better opposition, I’ve got no problem whatsoever because the way Liverpool play, they’ll be fine – the tempo they have is good, the energy they have is good.”
Victory for Liverpool over Tottenham would move them to within a point of the second-placed side. It may also see them move back into the top-four. However, defeat would seriously hamper their Champions League ambitions.
Peter Reynolds, Pundit Arena
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