By Guy Giles
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has delivered a damning verdict on his old club’s chances of winning the Premier League title but admitted Jurgen Klopp may have an “impossible job”.
Writing in his first column for The Telegraph, Carragher also believes fans are now faced with the ‘harsh reality’ that you can no longer evaluate a Liverpool manager on winning the Premier League.
“Every season I find myself asking the same questions. How can Liverpool do it? How can they compete with three of the wealthiest clubs in the world? Given the history and expectations at Anfield, has Liverpool become English football’s impossible job?” asked Carragher.
The Reds find themselves playing catch up already this season as they lie seven points behind the two Manchester clubs, with a heavy 5-0 loss to City the low point of a stop-start campaign.
It has now been two years since Klopp arrived at Anfield amid much fanfare, and despite some obvious signs of improvement, the first murmurings of discontent are emerging from Merseyside.
Carragher highlights Klopp’s first season, one in which Liverpool lost two finals, as an important one with regards to fans’ attitudes.
“When many felt the League Cup and Europa League final in 2016 were just the start for Klopp, I worried they were finals that had to be won because they do not come around frequently. To me, it felt like massive opportunities were missed,” he explained.
The failure of the Liverpool hierarchy to act upon success – such as the cup treble under Gerard Houllier or the Champions League win under Rafa Benitez – means that the club have never been able to fully bridge the gap to their rivals.
And Carragher sees parallels with current owners Fenway Sports Group after their failure to strengthen significantly this summer, namely by not signing a central defender.
All the while rivals Manchester United moved early to sign Romelu Lukaku and sort out their problems in front of goal, a transfer that is already paying huge dividends.
And ahead of their clash at Anfield this weekend, Carragher sees the progress of the Red Devils as a stark reminder of the problems at Liverpool.
“This is a fundamental difference between the modern Liverpool and United: one club recognised its weakness and fixed it, and the other is beset by the same problems. Liverpool cannot afford these mistakes on and off the pitch – not only to challenge for the Premier League but to remain in the top four,” he said.
While Carragher rubbished talk of Klopp potentially losing his job at Anfield, he ended with a powerful statement on the shifting ground in the Red half of Merseyside.
“Despite my misgivings regarding the title, do not presume Klopp cannot be successful at Anfield. The landscape has changed at Liverpool. Failure to win the Premier League can no longer be used as a reason to describe a Liverpool manager as a failure.”