Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Liverpool are on course for a top-four finish, on account of their advantageous run-in, but argues Jurgen Klopp’s men lack a plan B against those teams in the bottom half of the league.
The Reds have showcased some of their best football this season against their fellow title rivals but have suffered a number of humiliating defeats at the hands of the league’s lesser sides.
Liverpool’s recent 2-1 victory over Burnley moved the side five points clear of Arsenal in fifth, although the Gunners have two games in hand to close down Klopp’s men.
In spite of the current standings, Neville considers Liverpool to be the weakest of the six teams fighting for Champions League football but believes their run-in offers them a considerable advantage.
“There are going to be two big clubs and big managers to drop out of that top four,” Neville said. “You’d have to say, at this moment in time, if every team had the same games towards the end of the season, I think Liverpool could be in trouble.
“They could potentially be the weakest in some ways, but the fact they’ve got a really good run does give them an advantage to get in there. But it’s so tight and it changes week by week.”
Liverpool came from behind to beat Burnley at Anfield on Sunday, but still struggled for large parts against a side who haven’t won on the road all season.
Liverpool vs Burnley player ratings
Klopp’s side remain unbeaten against their close title rivals but all five of their defeats this season have come against those sides in the bottom half of the table, and Neville says this is an issue they must address.
“I’m not sure it is psychological because it’s happened so many times this year,” he said. “I think there’s a style and tactical issue in terms of how Liverpool play.
“We’ve seen some incredible performances from them in big games where teams have come at them and are open and expansive. But when Liverpool play a team who sit back and go into their shape, they don’t seem to have a Plan B.
“This current Liverpool are held back by the fact they haven’t got the strongest squad, but they have been helped this season by the fact they’ve got a good programme.
“They don’t have a Plan B in terms of being able to control the game in a different style, and when teams don’t allow them to use their energy to press they’re far less effective. They have a great chance of getting into the top four, but they do have to overcome this style problem.”