Paul Walsh insists Jurgen Klopp can only be judged once he has had a full season in charge of Liverpool and the chance to bring in his own players.
German coach Klopp – who succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in early October 2015 – may have guided his new club to Wembley against Manchester City on Sunday, but the jury remains out on Liverpool’s Premier League form, with only two wins since the turn of the year.
Klopp is expected to have a healthy transfer kitty with which to attack the summer transfer window and build a team around a high-energy pressing style as he did to great success at Borussia Dortmund.
Walsh was part of the Liverpool team which won the 1985-86 league championship, and believes Klopp must be given due time to stamp his own mark on the Anfield set-up.
“Before you can judge what Liverpool are doing, the manager has to have a summer transfer window and then a season with his own team,” Walsh told Press Association Sport.
“It is great when you win anything, but whether or not the team Liverpool have got is good enough to go and start really pushing the top four? Well, no.
“You would expect Chelsea to come again, Man City to come again, Tottenham have improved and Man United will improve, and suddenly Liverpool are then struggling to get into the top four unless they buy well.
“They probably need a central defender, and must decide whether or not to invest in another top-quality striker, but we have to let him (Klopp) make his choices, then they will be right or wrong – but at least give him a decent amount of time to be right or wrong.
“It would be great for the club to win the League Cup, but whether that is a start of new Liverpool run, no I don’t think so.
“Let’s see what happens in the summer and next season, that is only when you will be able to look at what Jurgen Klopp has done at Liverpool.”
City boss Manuel Pellegrini made sweeping changes for the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Chelsea, which ended in a 5-1 defeat.
Walsh, who also played for the Blues between 1994 and 1995, believes the predicted Wembley team selection is a “really difficult one to call”.
“Although this is a final, it is a lesser cup, so what team will he play? On the basis of what he was prepared to do with the FA Cup, anything can happen,” said Walsh, who is supporting Sky Sports colleague Jeff Stelling as he embarks on a Prostate Cancer UK charity marathon walk from boyhood club Hartlepool to Wembley in March.
“He has got a difficult game coming up against Liverpool in the Premier League afterwards, so it could well be a weakened team again.”
“Unless your best players are really on the top of their game and motivated, you always have a chance of things falling down, but if Man City play to their full potential, in my view they will win the final.”