Liverpool legend Danny Murphy believes the Premier League champions’ worrying start to their title defence is a concern for their title rivals. Jurgen Klopp’s side go into Saturday’s Merseyside derby with Everton looking to bounce back from their 7-2 thrashing by Aston Villa.
The Reds were humiliated immediately before the international break, suffering a shock defeat at Villa Park to raise doubts over their chances to retain their top-flight crown.
Jurgen Klopp’s reigning champions have the chance to respond when they travel to Goodison Park to face their fierce rivals Everton in Saturday’s early kick-off.
The Reds have a number of injury worries with first choice keeper Alisson sidelined, while Naby Keita misses out following a positive coronavirus test.
Summer signing Thiago Alcantara and Sadio Mane are back in training following their own respective positive tests but could still miss out.
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The fact that Liverpool have been unable to field their strongest XI bodes well for Klopp, according to former Anfield hero Murphy.
And the ex-midfielder also reckons their Premier League title rivals, including Manchester City and Chelsea, should be fearful – as the best is yet to come.
Speaking on the Football Index Podcast, Murphy said: “It is a concern that Liverpool are suddenly conceding so many goals having been really solid defensively for so long.
“I think that Liverpool’s weaknesses in defence is a mentality issue, nothing more.
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“Players like Van Dijk have not forgotten how to defend. I think it’s just about pressing a reset button and you are looking at a Liverpool team who hasn’t played their strongest 11 yet this season, which is worrying for the other teams in some respects.
“When you are the champions, you are always going to find that the opponents are more motivated to come at you and get a result.
“Liverpool are maybe finding that out this season in the same way that Manchester City will have felt in previous years.
“They always say retaining the title is harder than winning it the first time.”
Meanwhile, Klopp is wary of the threat posed by Saturday’s opponents Everton, whose 100 per cent record has them top of the Premier League.
The Toffees have not won any meeting between the two for a decade – Saturday is the exact 10th anniversary of their last victory.
But Klopp said: “I have lost enough derbies in my life to know how it feels so I don’t need that experience to be honest.
“We always respected Everton and that is what we do this time, for a good reason because they are a good team and this season they look especially good.
“Carlo (Ancelotti) is a sensational manager and so it was always clear when he has the time to build something he will do that and if he has the resources to build it he will do that.
“This team looks really, really good – I would like to say something different but it is not possible. Of course it is a proper challenge.
“It is 10 years (without a victory) for them and from my point of view long may it continue but we never thought about it once before we played them.
“It is the hardest work for us tomorrow and we will be ready for that.”
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