Alan Smith and Craig Bellamy discuss Liverpool’s drop in form and debate whether they’ve lost their mojo ahead of Manchester United’s visit.
Liverpool have won just one of their last seven games in all competitions and sit in seventh place in the Premier League, seven points behind United.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have failed to keep a clean sheet since their 4-0 win against Arsenal on August 27 and their defensive problems have been well-documented.
However, Smith feels Klopp’s men have also stagnated with their intensity going forward in recent weeks.
Liverpool have lost a little bit of their edge – their mojo, Smith said.
You look at the stats. We expect to see them playing with energy and covering most ground – those numbers are down now. They seem to have come off it a little bit for whatever reason.
Jurgen Klopp will want to get back to playing with aggression. I covered the Newcastle game – Daniel Sturridge being in the team changes that, they can’t press from the front when he’s there.
Bellamy thinks analysing overall distance running stats are worthless and would rather focus on the amount of sprints made by a team. The former Liverpool striker feels the loss of Sadio Mane, who has been ruled out for six weeks, will affect Liverpool’s ability to post high sprint stats against Manchester United.
We shouldn’t get confused with distance running – referees can go out there and run as much as the players, Bellamy said.
It’s all about running at speed. Is your intensity up? The amount of sprints you can make.
That’s what Liverpool have been good at. That intensity is what gives you a bigger impact in the game – being able to get in people’s faces and then sprint on the counter-attack. They are key factors in football and will help you go on to win games. Overall distance means little.
In those areas of high intensity, Mane is a big difference. When Liverpool don’t hit those big numbers, it’s when he’s not playing.