After Fulham drew 2-2 with Liverpool in their Premier League opener, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher gives his thoughts on the position of Jurgen Klopp’s side and the rest of the opening weekend of the season.
Saturday’s draw at Fulham was not the Liverpool we know. Nor the Liverpool that we have seen in the last two years. It was one of the worst performances we have seen under a Jurgen Klopp team. Even the Liverpool manager came out and said that.
Fulham’s setup: They did to Liverpool what Liverpool want to do to other teams. They were energetic and more ready for a soccer game. It’s not often that you see Liverpool not ready for a football match.
But going to a newly promoted team for the first game of the season, with all the energy there for their supporters, is sometimes just too hard to stop. You expect a team of the quality of Liverpool to be able to do that, but it just wasn’t.
We can’t be too critical: it’s the first game of the season. This team has produced a lot and you can see the quality is there. It’s not the end of the world, there are still 37 games left.
Most people would say that Liverpool’s midfield could now be strengthened, not in terms of numbers but perhaps in terms of quality and offering something different to what they have in midfield. It’s not about the midfielders that they currently have, it’s just the age profile of some of the midfielders there, who are hitting 30.
Liverpool’s starting midfielder – and the one who played for Fulham – is approaching 30 years old. He thinks a younger player with more energy is needed at some point, they have those players in reserve, but they are all injured.
I would only like Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool to do that if they get the midfielder they want. Liverpool’s success in the transfer market has come down to not panicking, it’s not what they’ve done in the past, it’s not what they’re doing now and it can’t be what they’re doing in the future. If there isn’t a midfielder they want, don’t get one. But if they feel that there is someone who has that quality and is available, I would like them to do it, of course. But don’t panic.
This is how Liverpool values things in the transfer market. If you think about the deal with Virgil van Dijk, that deal fell through in the summer and they waited until January. They didn’t get another centre-back, and they needed one, but they waited for the guy they wanted. That turned out to be very successful and that’s what they will do in midfield.
Man Utd cannot be worse than last season
No matter how poor Manchester United are at the moment, I would still expect them to beat Brighton at home.
It just shows what a manager who has been on the job for two or three years and had that time to implement what he does with his team can do, and you can see that with Graham Potter and Brighton.
Even though they lost great players in the summer, the rest of the team was prepared and they know what to do. Manchester United are not at that stage at the moment with a new manager.
I still think that Manchester United will improve last season. You can’t see it getting any worse with the points they got and the goals they conceded. The window is not closed, they still have a couple of weeks to get some players.
There’s criticism about the players they’re trying to bring in, but I’ve been in that position myself at Liverpool when you’re trying to chase the top teams and sometimes you have to think, ‘Should I take a chance on this player? While a Liverpool or a Manchester City do not have to take those risks. That is the benefit of being successful.
You can’t judge the squad until the window is closed and you’ll see where they go from there. Ten Hag has a great pedigree in what he did for Ajax and how good they were in the Champions League. He made two teams there, so you have to keep faith with the coach.
Chelsea and Spurs can challenge the top two
A lot of people may be disappointed with Chelsea this season, but I think a couple of players could still make it to Stamford Bridge before the window closes. They could be in a completely different position at the end of August.
Spurs could compete with Conte, especially looking at the results they achieved at Liverpool and Manchester City last season. The Italian is a coach who can rightly take on Klopp and Guardiola and not feel inferior in any way because of the successes he has achieved abroad and here in the Premier League as well.
Spurs look much better than they did last season and will join Chelsea in trying to move closer to the top two.