Premier League • England

Liverpool pressure piled on, as Michael Owen agrees with Paul Merson over nightmare Klopp scenario

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool are only two results away from being in big trouble this season with no easy way out, according to Michael Owen.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have won only three of their nine games, including only two in seven Premier League matches. Their poor record therefore extends to the Champions League, where they lost 4-1 to Napoli.

To add further concerns, two of their three wins have come from dramatic late goals.

There has been a noticeable drop in intensity compared to the Liverpool team of the past four or five seasons. Manager Klopp admitted as such on Monday. He said his side need to get “back to basics”, especially with their defending.

Before Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Brighton, Paul Merson claimed that Liverpool’s next week will be a defining one. In fact, he claimed they could be out of the Premier League title race with no wins against the Seagulls or Arsenal on Sunday.

And former Liverpool striker Owen claimed similar, that Liverpool could soon run out of breathing room.

“There’s no denying Liverpool have not been at their best this season but they can easily bounce back,” the pundit told the Daily Mirror.

“The problem with Liverpool at the minute, and I wouldn’t say their season is teetering at all, but the season is only a couple of results from being a case of, ‘Oh, my gosh! How do we get out of this?’

“Two bad results in the Champions League after the first result and then two more bad results in the next two games in the Premier League would mean they are so far behind Manchester City.

“It’s almost like they’ve gotten rid of their ‘Get Out Of Jail card’ already, their buffer.”

Worry but hope for Liverpool

Liverpool return to action on Tuesday against Rangers in the Champions League. Owen believes the Anfield contest is “massive” for the Reds, who “really can’t afford any more slip-ups”.

Indeed, he claimed that Liverpool have not had a “really challenging opening to the league campaign”.

Still, Owen reckons beating Rangers in back-to-back contests could act as a catalyst for their season as it would see them progress to the last 16 in Europe.

“Liverpool aren’t absolutely flying but still obvious it’s a formidable ask for Rangers,” he added. “At Ibrox it will be a different kettle of fish, but at Anfield I expect it to be reasonably straightforward for Liverpool.

“Rangers’ scorelines in their first two games wouldn’t give you too much optimism. And Liverpool are full of quality, and we all know what they are like on European nights when Anfield is a really special place.

“The other thing for Rangers is that Liverpool really need a win.

“They squeezed past Ajax in the last game and could do with at least four points from two games against Rangers but hopefully six and that should see them through after their initial wobble.”

Reds need reality check

The fact that Liverpool’s three wins this season have come in such different circumstances is a worry.

The two dramatic late winners over Newcastle and Ajax came after the 9-0 hammering of Bournemouth.

Liverpool’s performances have lacked consistency, something they became famed for in seasons gone by.

And as Klopp says, the players need to have a look at themselves and look at where they are going wrong individually.

Compared to Manchester City, Liverpool have never had as much depth in all areas, especially up top and in midfield.

But what they have had is individuals who have almost outperformed their roles and contributed above and beyond for the team.

If those individuals – Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah among them – can return to those levels, the team will no doubt improve.