Liverpool have endured a rather strange start to the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently fourth in the Premier League, three points behind leaders Manchester United, with whom they drew 0-0 at Anfield at the weekend.
The Reds have not won any of their last four games in the league, drawing with United, Newcastle United, and West Bromwich Albion, and losing 1-0 to Southampton.
Their most recent league win came on December 19th, when Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 7-0.
It is especially surprising given the form the Reds showed last season, when they were such dominant Premier League champions.
Speaking on Monday, and quoted by Sky Sports, Klopp actually claimed that the Reds are not currently focusing on winning the title, and are instead hoping to finish in the top four.
He said: "The most important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and I know how difficult it is. This season it will be a tough race for the top four."
However, he has now been savaged by former Premier League star Noel Whelan.
Speaking to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United striker believes that Liverpool fans might actually be angry after Klopp’s words, given the quality of the playing squad at the German’s disposal.
He said: “The title is the most important thing, not a top four finish.
“Are you saying to me that finishing second would be a successful season? I think many Liverpool fans would say that is not good enough.
“They have waited so long to get back to the top of English football and to now, say that top four is the priority… You should not be saying that. When you are champions you should not be looking anywhere but first.
“It surprises me because I believe they have the best team in the Premier League. They need to retain the title with the squad that they have.
“I am sure that will anger Liverpool fans.
“Perhaps he is saying that to take the pressure off some of his players or maybe there’s a few mind games going on. They have a fight on their hands though, that is for sure.”
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
Whelan is absolutely right.
Liverpool should be aiming to retain the title and make a real statement while doing so.
That Klopp is already setting his sights lower than that may well be a sign that his confidence is dissipating.
After all, second-placed Manchester City are only two points behind United and they have a game in hand; win that and the Reds will be four points off the leaders.
This is a really bad sign for the Anfield side.News Now - Sport News