Three reasons why Liverpool won’t finish in the top four

Jonathan Spencer examines three reasons why Liverpool won't finish in the Premier League's top four

By Jonathan Spencer

No backbone

Manchester City win the Premier League thanks to their strong backbone: centre-back Vincent Kompany, centre-midfielder Yaya Toure and centre-forward Sergio Aguero. If these players lose form or pick up an injury, City usually struggle. At Liverpool, they lack these type of players. Philippe Coutinho is the only Liverpool star that opponents fear. With a less than convincing centre-back pairing in Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren, opposition feel they can score goals. In midfield, Jordan Henderson and James Milner provide the team with energy but neither are match-winners. Finally in attack, Christian Benteke can intimidate defenders due to his strength and power but will not score anywhere near the number of goals that Aguero will. The other teams challenging for the top four all have stronger backbones and bigger personalities that count in crucial matches, compared to Liverpool.

Leadership issue

Within the team, there is a lack of players that can stand up and be counted. When the tough gets going, Liverpool seem to struggle. With Henderson as captain, it shows the deprivation of leadership at the club. Against the lesser teams in the Premier League, they may get away with it due to their superior attacking threat but against the top four, leadership is crucially essential. Kompany, John Terry, Per Mertesacker (vice-captain) and Wayne Rooney all have enough experience and the players around them that can help the team to win matches when they have their backs against the walls. Even though Brendan Rodgers has previously emphasised the need for more leaders within the side, no real action was taken during the transfer window.

Defensively fragile

The Reds have become easily undone on numerous occasions in the past. As argued above, the centre-half position does not give the Liverpool fans much confidence. With the attacking strength in the Premier League improving, most defences find it difficult to hold out against the opposition. This was evident when West Ham played Liverpool last weekend and won 3-0 at Anfield. Every side has the ability to hurt another team. Last year, Liverpool conceded 48 goals in the league, which is far too many if they want to challenge for a Champions League spot. Although Rodgers managed to buy Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez, who have started well on Merseyside, he neglected the centre back situation. Liverpool could be in for another long season defensively, with their only options to partner Skrtel being the less than convincing Lovren and Mamadou Sakho and finally, the ageing Kolo Toure.

Follow @thesportreview on Instagram

MORE:

MORE: The latest football transfer news

MORE: Meet the Premier League's most stylish footballers

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

Exclusive Interview
John Barnes
Exclusive interview: John Barnes on Liverpool FC, Sadio Mane and more
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Meet Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s girlfriend Amine Gulse
Meet Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s girlfriend Amine Gulse
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
Take a tour of Arsenal star Mesut Ozil’s £10m London house with us
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
Meet Chelsea FC star Andreas Christensen’s girlfriend Katrine Friis
Meet Chelsea FC star Andreas Christensen’s girlfriend Katrine Friis
US Open 2019
Naomi Osaka
US Open preview 2019: No1 Osaka prepares to defend, but champions line up to challenge
David De Gea
David De Gea to make key Man United decision in January – report
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie sends message to Man United about Alexis Sanchez