Former Arsenal stalwart Martin Keown has said that a lack of hunger and desire has seen Liverpool’s form regress recently.
The Reds have seen their blistering early season form trail off of late, as they drew with Arsenal on Saturday before crashing to a 2-0 defeat against Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Tuesday.
And Keown has identified the problems plaguing Jurgen Klopp’s side: “Against Arsenal, Liverpool did not have the same hunger and desire to press the ball as they usually have,” he wrote in the Mail for his ‘Tackle Keown’ column [08/11; 13:54].
“As a result, Jurgen Klopp was not his smiling, philosophical self after the game. There was pain etched on his face. Liverpool’s performances of late have not been as fluid as they were last season. While Klopp will be pleased that his team are able to grind out narrow victories, by now he would like to see them click into gear.”
Keown is absolutely spot on, here. Despite all the points Liverpool have accumulated in the Premier League this season, they have rarely blown teams away. Since their 4-0 thumping of West Ham United on the opening day of the new campaign they’ve largely ground results out and won by narrow margins. That’s an important ingredient in title contenders, of course, but you also need to perform to the best of your ability and that’s not what Liverpool have been doing of late. The Reds didn’t seem to be in top gear against the Gunners and looked a little laboured at times. Then there was the performance against Red Star on Tuesday, which was one of the worst of the Klopp era. Something needs to change at Anfield and it’s important that they regain the fluidity they showed early in the season if they are to avoid being left behind by Manchester City.