Jurgen Klopp: Two key decisions went against Liverpool in West Ham defeat
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Liverpool hero John Arne Riise has poured doubt over the club’s Premier League title challenge. The 41-year-old is concerned that Jurgen Klopp’s uninspiring squad depth could put the Reds at a disadvantage against Chelsea and Manchester City throughout the season.
It’s currently tight at the Premier League summit, with just four points separating the top four.
Liverpool – in fourth – have slipped up in their last two league outings, though, surrendering a 2-0 lead to draw at home to Brighton and Hove Albion before losing 3-2 at West Ham United on Sunday.
And with fixtures continuing to stack up after the final international break of 2021, Klopp will have to join other Premier League managers in using the entirety of their squads.
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Riise is concerned about Liverpool’s squad depth, especially during a crunch period like the new year, which could decide the title’s fate.
He told talkSPORT: “I was a little bit worried at the beginning [of the season] because they didn’t replace [Georginio] Wijnaldum, who I think was extremely important for Liverpool.
“Then, at the beginning, I thought they played exceptionally well, but I’m maybe concerned about depth in the squad.
“I don’t think they have top, top, top players when they lose players. Like last season when they lost [Virgil] van Dijk and a few other players, you could see they struggled, and I’m scared of it being the same this year.
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“Like when people are injured or suspended, and the African Cup of Nations [in January] – I think that’s where the title is going to be decided.
“And I don’t think we’re strong enough depth-wise to compete in the long run against Man City or Chelsea.”
Liverpool are set to lose Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the new year due to their involvement with AFCON.
The duo could miss up to eight games in January and February, while African absences won’t hit Chelsea and Man City as hard.
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Riise’s concerns are warranted, considering Klopp’s attacking options after his four regular starters present a considerable drop off in quality.
After Salah, Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi are next in the pecking order.
While both stars have proven they’re capable of contributing in the Carabao Cup, whether they could be effective over a period of Premier League games remains to be seen.
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