Riise explains Liverpool’s Premier League struggles despite fine European form

John Arne Riise has pinpointed why Liverpool’s domestic form is so poor despite their recent success in the Champions League.

The Reds lost their sixth successive Premier League game at home with a 1-0 defeat by Fulham earlier this month, leaving the champions languishing in mid-table.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side have shone on the European stage, beating Bundesliga contenders RB Leipzig 4-0 over two legs to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Explaining his former side’s mixed form, Riise claimed Liverpool have been sussed out by their domestic opposition – but teams on the continent are yet to perfect the blueprint to beat them.

Riise claims Premier League teams have “learned how to play against Liverpool”

“You have to say playing in Europe is different, because you don’t say the same teams,” said the 2005 Champions League hero.

“There are different styles, different mentalities. You have to give credit to all the teams in the Premier League because they have learned how to play against Liverpool. They are deeper, more compact, they counter-attack more.

“For Liverpool’s sake, when you do defend with a high line, midfield pressing, and you don’t have Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Fabinho at centre-back, Jordan Henderson who’s injured, you don’t get that consistency that they used to have.”

The Reds' crisis worsened with yet another home defeat on Sunday 7 March
The Reds’ crisis worsened with yet another home defeat on Sunday 7 March

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Despite Liverpool’s dismal run of eight defeats in their last 12 league games, Riise is confident Liverpool will break through their “mental issue” to rally during the run-in.

“Last Sunday, they lost their sixth game in a row at home. I never experienced that, so the pressure’s on the players and the manager,” said the Norwegian.

“But people don’t become bad players overnight. You can clearly see this is a mental issue, a confidence issue – the whole team just needs a win.”

Liverpool have won eight of their 10 games in the Champions League this season
Liverpool have won eight of their 10 games in the Champions League this season

Have Premier League teams sussed out how to beat Liverpool? Have your say in the comments.

Riise added: “There’s no doubt the players are giving 100 per cent, everything they have. You have to realise over the last three years, the way Liverpool play their football, it’s not easy.

“It demands a lot of mental toughness, physical toughness and when you go so far in each competition you play so many games every year.

“You could see that in the defeat by Fulham – it’s like they can’t believe what’s happening.

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“But then again, players don’t get worse overnight.

“At the moment, it’s a time when the players need to stick together and find that one game where they can turn it around and get their confidence back.”

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