Rio Ferdinand has urged Jurgen Klopp to follow Sir Alex Ferguson’s lead and move on some of the old Liverpool guard to rebuild his team.
Despite comfortably qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages, Liverpool’s Premier League form has left plenty to be desired, with the Reds winning just four of their 12 games so far.
It’s led some to suggest an overhaul is necessary at Anfield with older players looking as though they’re unable to meet Klopp’s demands.
But Peter Crouch reckons talk of a complete rebuild is premature.
“Let’s not get carried away, they were in every competition last season, Champions League final, won two trophies, were one point away from winning the Premier League,” he said. “This season hasn’t gone to plan, it isn’t a complete overhaul.
“Salah’s scoring every week, Van Dijk is going through a little period where he isn’t playing well but he’s still possibly the best centre-half in the game. There’s a lack of form and there’s a definite need for a freshen up but Liverpool aren’t far away.”
But Ferdinand disagreed, comparing the situation at Liverpool to what he experienced under Ferguson, who would move players on before a real decline to ensure the squad remained fresh.
“That’s the thing with Sir Alex Ferguson and what he was great at, he could see the chink in those players’ armour whatever it be and changing it, getting them out before they were the other side of the mountain. We’re talking about players in this Liverpool team who are on the other side of that mountain now in terms of form, where they are in their career compared to two or three years ago.
“Jaap Stam was the best defender at the time, see you later. David Beckham, in terms of his career, bye-bye. Ruud van Nistelrooy, the manager saw something early and they’re big calls to make. The risk involved in that but you need to have the belief and confidence in what you’re doing and the ability to spot talent elsewhere to come in.”
The BT Sport pundit picked out four of Liverpool’s midfielders as the guys first on the chopping block, and reckons the young guns coming up beneath them aren’t ready to take on the mantle.
“I understand ageing midfield, Henderson, Thiago, Fabinho, Milner getting older” Ferdinand explained. “We watched them against Nottingham Forest but you’ve got Elliott, Carvalho coming in there, Curtis Jones can come in there. Are they ready to come in and take over? That’s the question. If they’re not, if Klopp’s seen that they’re going to have to go into the market.
“I do believe, not this window, but in the summer that’s an area they’ll be looking to get reinforcements. It’s hard when players have done so well for you to go ‘you’ve shown signs of weakness or form is lacking, you’re going to have to get out of the club.’ It’s difficult when they’ve been so loyal and you’ve relied on them for so long.”