Former Liverpool and Manchester United star Paul Ince has warned Jurgen Klopp’s side that their leading lights must step up if their title challenge isn’t to fade at a crucial stage.
Reigning champions Manchester City beat Everton on Wednesday night to return to the summit, closing what could have become a 10-point gap on January 3. Pep Guardiola was quick to send Liverpool a message about the title race after the match.
With the Reds dropping points in their last two games, goalkeeper Alisson has suggested ‘insecurity’ may be creeping into their performances – though that has been denied by defender Andy Robertson.
And with all the pressure back on Liverpool against Bournemouth on Saturday, Ince – a title winner at Manchester United – has told two of Klopp’s senior stars they must lead from the front.
“This is where leaders are crucial – Virgil van Dijk and James Milner need to step up. They need to reassure the team that there’s a long way to go yet, and steady the ship,” said Ince, who was speaking exclusively to news.paddypower.com.
“There are plenty of Liverpool players who haven’t won anything yet, so it’s unsurprising that the pressure is mounting on them. And of course, Jurgen Klopp’s behaviour from now on is crucial, he needs to bring that confidence back to the players and make sure they don’t doubt themselves.
“Man City have got the experience of winning it before and that’s what Liverpool are up against. They beat Everton, and returned top, which puts a huge amount of weight on Liverpool v Bournemouth this week. That feels like a must-win game – alarm bells will start to ring should they fail to win that.”
Ince wary of Tottenham threat
Ince also believes Tottenham should not be taken lightly and believes Mauricio Pochettino’s men cannot be discounted from the title race.
“Liverpool also need to be wary of Tottenham,” he added. “At the minute, they’re playing their football knowing that the eyes are nearly all on the top two. In fact, they’re only five points behind the leaders now and should be taken more seriously as a threat.”
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