I have had concerns since the start of the season about the strength of Liverpool’s squad and now, as the players go back after the international break and head into the Champions League qualifiers, they will come under the spotlight.
I wondered if they had enough quality players to cover all eventualities, as the season starts to get tough for all of the teams who are in Europe. It’s a difficult period, it’s non-stop travel, non-stop games with no real break.
Liverpool just don’t have strength in depth, especially in the attacking areas. Beyond their top trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino they don’t have much quality back-up.
When I watch Manchester City play, they don’t seem to be stretched by the teams they play, they win games at a canter.
With Liverpool it’s always 100 per cent – it’s amazing to watch but it takes its toll, it requires a strong and healthy squad to cope with that workload.
Liverpool would be expected to beat Newcastle tomorrow but Tottenham thought that when they played them a few weeks ago and were caught out.
That happens in the Premier League, if you start thinking they are handy games, you get caught out – Liverpool can’t afford to think that way this weekend.
When Liverpool hit the levels the manager demands of them, they are unstoppable. However if the work rate drops, it becomes more difficult for them as they don’t have that one midfielder who can pick out the key pass to win a game.
Their midfielders run, they press and win the ball high up. I have heard it said that Liverpool don’t need a No 10 as they win the ball so high up the field, but they can’t afford to take the foot off the gas.
So don’t assume they have Newcastle beaten before they have played.
Daniel James a rare bright spot for Man United
The international break may have come at a good time for Manchester United as their form before that was poor. But not a lot will change when the season restarts this weekend. I don’t see any progress when I watch Manchester United play.
I don’t see something that tells me ‘they are getting somewhere’, that they will be okay in a matter of time.
This season they look nervy and unconvincing. Paul Pogba still prances around and it’s awful how often he loses possession because he is trying that wonder pass.
People highlight the goal he has created with a good pass, but that ignores the 25 passes where he gave the ball away and hurt the team.
United do have a really good player in Daniel James, and his goal for Wales will be one plus from the break.
He’s a good player who’s on form and is capable of scoring goals. However he’s only young and it’s only a matter of time before he has a dip in form, and that’s when the senior players need to take care of him. I’d fear that United’s senior players are not strong enough to do that.
They are still a long way off being a side who can get to the Champions League.