Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has suggested that Liverpool‘s current side are lacking the right mentality defensively amid the club’s dire spell of Premier League form. The Reds have lost their last three matches against Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester City and Leicester City, a run that has all but ended Jurgen Klopp‘s hopes of a sensational title defence in the face of his crippling defensive injury crisis.
Liverpool are aiming to make a welcome return to winning ways against RB Leipzig in their Champions League round of 16 first-leg clash at Budapest’s Puskas Arena.
Klopp has come under fire from critics and supporters alike in recent weeks, with rumours spreading on social media that he could even be set to walk out on the Liverpool job if the Merseyside club’s form fails to quickly improve.
His patience with journalists also appears to be wearing thin, with Klopp snapping back while being interviewed on a number of recent occasions.
Despite his recent struggles, the German boss remains statistically the most successful manager in the history of the club, enjoying a higher win percentage than the likes of Bill Shankly, Kenny Dalglish and Bob Paisley.
Ferdinand jumped to Klopp’s defence ahead of kick-off on Tuesday evening, telling BT Sport that he understands his frustration and claiming that the Liverpool squad will be happy to have seen his passion and desire to succeed on display in recent media appearances.
When asked if he feels Klopp is beginning to feel the pressure at Liverpool, Ferdinand replied: “Maybe. If you look at the injuries, that could play a part.
“People are saying he’s getting hammered because he’s a bit prickly in interviews but what do you want him to do, come into an interview and start laughing?
“If I’m a player, I want to see my manager like that, try and maybe deflect a little bit. I want to see that anger,
“I don’t want to see my manager coming out and dusting off a defeat like it’s nothing.”
Despite expressing solidarity with Klopp’s current situation, Ferdinand also criticised Liverpool’s response to their loss of winning form.
The 42-year-old suggested that the Reds need to recapture the successful mentality that helped them dominate last season, a crucial trait that his former club United managed to take advantage of during the defender’s playing days.
“At United, and Liverpool are in this mode where they’re winning a lot, the culture at the club was you do not lose two on the spin,” Ferdinand continued.
“We’re not Houdini and you can’t write a script but that’s the mindset. You go into the game and everyone’s in tune.
“OK, we’ll tighten it up at the back and let our strikers win the game. But we won’t concede.
“That comes from a culture at the club set by someone – one of the managers, one of the players. Have they got that? That’s the question.”
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool can rescue their rapid decline before the end of the campaign.
The club now find themselves 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City, who have the added benefit of a game in hand.
Klopp has already conceded his side’s title chances, emotionally admitting defeat after the 3-1 loss against Leicester at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
The German boss will now turn his attention towards Liverpool’s Champions League campaign, with the Reds still able to seal their second European triumph in three seasons.