Premier League • England

Top Man City star only ‘partially surprised’ at Liverpool slump but rules out any Klopp crisis

Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harvey Elliott of Liverpool, September 2022

Manchester City star Rodri has revealed that he is only ‘partially surprised’ by Liverpool’s poor start to the current campaign.

Jurgen Klopp’s men currently sit eighth in the table with just nine points from their six games, having lost to Manchester United and drawn with Fulham, Crystal Palace and Merseyside rivals Everton.

Their fortunes have also been mixed in the Champions League. The Reds were thumped 4-1 at Napoli in their opener before bouncing back to beat Ajax at Anfield.

Injuries have not helped, particularly in midfield, but defensive issues have been the biggest surprise.

The normally reliable Virgil van Dijk has not been at his best, while Joe Gomez has also had his struggles.

City, by comparison, are sitting second in the table behind surprise leaders Arsenal.

Pep Guardiola’s men are yet to lose in the league but were held to draws by Newcastle and Aston Villa.

Many pundits have questioned whether Liverpool are realistic title contenders anymore. Indeed, there has even been talk of the Reds missing out on the top four.

Those sort of discussions are unthinkable, given how well Liverpool have competed under Klopp in recent times.

However, Rodri has warned that English football does not allow your level to drop – something that has clearly happened at Anfield.

When asked if was surprised at Liverpool’s troubles, Rodri told Gazzetta dello Sport (via SportWitness): “Only partially. The Premier League level is so high that as soon as you slow down, you lose points.”

Rodri expects Liverpool recovery

But despite their struggles, Rodri is convinced the real Liverpool will be back soon.

He added: “Liverpool are not in crisis, they are just less effective, and the Premier League does not allow you to relax.”

The Reds will return to action on October 1 when they take on high-flying Brighton at Anfield.

But one player they should have back in their ranks for that game is skipper Jordan Henderson.

The 32-year-old has missed Liverpool’s last three games with a hamstring injury. However, he’s been given permission by Klopp to join up with the Three Lions as a replacement for Kalvin Phillips for the Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

The Daily Mail reports that Klopp “was happy for his captain to go” and get some much-needed game time. The Reds boss does not have any concerns about Henderson’s overall fitness.

Henderson travelled to St George’s Park on Monday evening, after the Queen’s funeral had concluded.

The Mail report said: “The plan was for Henderson to join up provided he came through a number of sessions over the weekend without issue and, as that was the case, he reported to St George’s Park late on Monday night – no players travelled to Burton while The Queen’s funeral was in progress.”

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