iverpool‘s top-of-the-table stalemate against Manchester United on Sunday was far from a disastrous result for the Premier League champions – but their lack of goals is becoming a big issue for Jurgen Klopp.
While Klopp has been struck by a defensive injury crisis this season with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both out with long-term knee injuries, it is at the other end of the pitch where Liverpool have found it tough going of late.
Liverpool and United battled to a goalless draw on Merseyside as the Red Devils remained top of the table – three points ahead of Klopp’s men – with the champions failing to score in their last three League games.
Sky Sports pundits Roy Keane and Graeme Souness concurred that Liverpool had lost some of their spark – and things could have been worse had Alisson Becker not kept Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba at bay with important saves in the second half.
“You can’t say Liverpool are playing badly, but they have lost their spark,” said former United captain Keane.
Souness, the ex-Liverpool skipper, added: “For me, looking at Liverpool as a Liverpool supporter and looking at where they’ve been for the last three years and where they are right now, it’s the front three.
“For me the front three – no sparkle, no real special moments for them. (Roberto) Firmino didn’t take part in the game a lot, (Mo) Salah didn’t skip past (Luke) Shaw once – who was, I would say, the best I’ve seen anyone handle Salah.
“It’s not over. We could talk all night about what Liverpool are not at this moment in time, but where they are is in the top four, not at their best, and that will be a source of encouragement for a lot of people.”
United did not escape criticism, as another pundit, former Manchester City defender Micah Richards, claimed at half-time that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side could not win the Premier League with a defensive mindset.
“Manchester United are just dropping so deep. They’re top of the league, take the game to Liverpool,” he said.
“You can’t win the league playing like that. Yeah, they’re good on the counter-attack, but they’re offside seven times in that half.
“You can’t win the league playing as negatively as that.”
Keane added: “I wouldn’t be too critical of United. They showed a good mentality. The back four was brilliant.
“(Marcus) Rashford didn’t turn up, Fernandes didn’t play well, but they still created the best two chances in the game.”
Additional reporting by PA.