Whelan launches scathing attack on 'Scared' Liverpool players

Liverpool stars look “scared” and have lacked belief all season that they can retain their Premier League crown.

That is according to former Premier League forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Liverpool’s 4-1 humbling at the hands of Manchester City last night.

It was a result which leaves them 10 points behind league leaders City, who also have a game in hand on last season’s champions.

Liverpool have averaged just over 1.7 points per game this campaign — extrapolated over a 38-game season that would net them 66 points, 33 fewer than their 2019-20 tally.

Whelan condemned Jurgen Klopp’s side for a pitiful title defence and what he sees as a complete lack of self-confidence.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “It’s a lack of belief. Some of their players say the right thing but do they really believe it? I think they’ve hidden behind excuses all season.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Yes, you’re missing some very, very important players but there’s been a period up until now where your Salahs, your Manes, they’ve not been hitting the top of their game like they did last season.

“True champions rise to the occasion and defend the title. This season there’s been too many 7/10s to really compete and right now they’re miles behind.

“Last night was a game where you thought they might turn up and put that bit of pressure back on Man City. But I just don’t think the players believe it.

“Are they scared? I’m not sure. You’ve got to rise to the occasion. Manchester United did it time after time. Liverpool have done it for one year…

“Maybe they should have strengthened in the summer a bit more. But I’ve seen a weakness in them that I’ve not seen before.”

Quoted by the BBC, Klopp said after the defeat that his team “weren’t fresh enough, mentally and physically.”

Liverpool’s next challenge in the Premier League is title challengers Leicester City on Saturday, then RB Leipzig in the Champions League next Tuesday.

In other news, a Liverpool starlet is set for a payrise at Anfield after a hugely promising Championship loan spell.