Stan Collymore says a top-four finish is the best Liverpool can hope for this season because their defence is too fragile.
The Reds face Stoke on Tuesday night looking to jump back up to second and close the gap on leaders Chelsea to six points.
With 41 goals Jurgen Klopp’s men are the top scorers in the Premier League so far this campaign but Collymore says they cannot win the title because of their leaky defence, which has conceded 20 goals.
“I still think third or fourth place will be the best they can hope for with Chelsea the favourites as we reach the turn and City, with the best squad, the only side who can beat them,” Collymore wrote in his column for the Daily Mirror.
“But a top-four finish is definitely within Liverpool’s grasp and if they can achieve that then most Reds fans will be happy as it puts them back where they feel they belong in English football’s elite.
“There are plenty of similarities between Liverpool and City’s seasons, not least that both would have a lot more points had they not had defensive problems.
“The major difference is that City’s manager Pep Guardiola could buy two top-class defenders next month if he wants to, paying the extra money it would need to extricate them at this stage of the season.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) December 26, 2016
“Liverpool, on the other hand, cannot and in all likelihood Klopp will have to wait until the summer to address the leaks at the back, which is obviously a bit too late for this season.
“Defences win Premier Leagues and as it stands here at the back end of 2016, neither Liverpool nor City have a back four that can win them the title,” Collymore added.
“But City have the means for a quick, top-quality fix. Unfortunately Liverpool don’t.”