Gary Neville is ready to accept the “fun” of watching Liverpool struggle appears to be over, though the former Manchester United defender always expected Jurgen Klopp’s side to rediscover their form.
The reigning champions endured a five-match winless Premier League run to slip off the pace, a dip that allowed rivals United to briefly go top of the table.
However, while the Red Devils have managed to take just a solitary point from their previous two outings – including suffering a shock home loss to bottom club Sheffield United – Liverpool have reeled off successive wins in London.
The Reds still sit four points behind in-form leaders Manchester City – who also have a game in hand – but Neville is not surprised to see Klopp right the ship and get Liverpool back on course, even if it does mean an end to his “two or three-week party” during their recent slump.
“I don’t think any of us ever thought Liverpool were out of the title race in the last few weeks,” Neville said during his podcast for Sky Sports.
“I may have had a bit of fun, let’s be clear, watching them drop points in those midweek games and seeing United go top of the league. It’s been a two or three-week party but that’s what I felt it was.
“I felt it was just a two or three-week party. I thought it would come to an end at some point and that Liverpool would resume their form.
“I don’t think United necessarily had to fall away but I thought Liverpool would come back and that they would get over this blip. They have got too good a coach and they have got too good a squad.”
4 – All four of Liverpool’s away wins in the Premier League this season have been over London clubs (Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Spurs, West Ham); they are the first side in English top-flight history to pick up their first four away league wins in a season all in London. Punished. pic.twitter.com/KyrUFthrqP
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 31, 2021
Liverpool won 3-1 at West Ham on Sunday less than 72 hours after triumphing by the same scoreline against Tottenham in the capital. Jordan Henderson played both games at centre-back due to injuries, albeit the Reds may be set to add to their defensive options before the transfer window closes.
Neville has been impressed at how, despite the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, Klopp has not seen the need to adjust the way his team plays to accommodate those coming into the starting XI.
The Reds host Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday before leaders City visit Anfield at the weekend, a huge clash for both clubs and their respective hopes in the title race.
“Well done to Liverpool because whereby they have got different personnel in those positions, their structure is still the same,” Neville said.
“They are still pushing up the pitch, they are still playing that high line, pressing the game, they are still compact from back to front and they are still sustaining attacks.
“They are doing the same things even though they have different personnel, and that’s credit to the players, credit to the coach and I have to say, they have been decimated with injuries to some of their best players.
“They have had big problems and yet they are overcoming it. If they can beat Brighton in midweek, which, no disrespect to Brighton, they should do at home, then we have got a real cracker next Sunday against Manchester City.”