Pundit means ‘no disrespect’ amid scathing assessment of Klopp’s Liverpool plan B

Date published: Sunday 7th March 2021 2:43 - Jonny Whitfield

Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v Burnley January 2021

Paul Merson has insisted that Xherdan Shaqiri is not one Liverpool star Jurgen Klopp can turn to in the hunt for solutions to the club’s slump.

The Reds‘ poor form continued on Thursday as Chelsea inflicted a fifth defeat in six Premier League games.

What’s more, Klopp has now overseen five successive defeats at Anfield, a first in the club’s history.

Liverpool’s away results have proved fairly stable; they dominated for 70 minutes at Leicester and have beaten Tottenham and West Ham on the road in recent weeks.

However, a lack of intensity on home turf has plagued the club, with only two goals scored in seven games at Anfield.

As for potential solutions for a lack of pressing, Liverpool have welcomed Diogo Jota back into the fold after injury. Swiss Shaqiri and Divock Origi are also options up front, but Merson is not confident of the former performing as required.

“I have sat here a million times and said [Liverpool] were the best team I have ever seen without the ball,” Merson told Sky Sports (Saturday March 6 at 1.25pm).

“I watched Man City the other night and that was Liverpool without the ball.

Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri Liverpool TEAMtalk

“No disrespect, but if you bring in Shaqiri for a game or two, he’s not a ‘closer downer’. He’s not going to ‘bang’ and go.”

Liverpool headed into Sunday’s clash with Fulham having dropped from top spot to seventh since Christmas.

They now face a battle to make the top four, made harder by the defeat to rivals Chelsea.

Liverpool need a plan B

“You need a plan B,” Merson added.

“When you are under pressure and it’s not going well, you sort of start making the wrong decisions.”

Meanwhile, reports have emerged that Mohamed Salah is exploring his options ahead of an Anfield exit.

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