Jurgen Klopp could suffer consecutive league defeats for the first time as Liverpool manager at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night and Steve McManaman fears a third reverse in quick succession would endanger the club’s season.
The Reds were ousted 1-0 by Swansea City last time out in the top flight, before then exiting the FA Cup 3-2 courtesy of West Bromwich Albion over the weekend.
Those results - and heavily underwhelming performances - have heightened the pressure heading into the encounter against David Wagner’s charges.
And Liverpool legend McManaman believes a strong display at the John Smith's Stadium as well as against Tottenham on Saturday is vital to suppressing any uncertainty around the club.
The BT Sport pundit told Goal: “We know Liverpool can play much better than they did in the last two games, because we’ve seen plenty of evidence of that. The main thing is to try and get back to their better performances against Huddersfield on Tuesday and again against Tottenham on the weekend.
“If that doesn’t happen, people will start to really question the manager, the signings, various decisions and that’s what you don’t want - you don’t want great uncertainty around the football club. They have to deliver a strong performance at Huddersfield.”
Klopp has stated Liverpool will not recruit before Wednesday’s transfer deadline if the right player is not available, an unpopular position, but one that McManaman agrees with.
“They’ve strengthened defensively,” he said, highlighting the record £75 million acquisition of Virgil van Dijk. “They sold Philippe Coutinho and I think everyone knows they had to let him go, that he was always going to leave for Barcelona. You can only strengthen if the right players are available.
“I don’t think there are any type of players like Phil Coutinho who is available right now and would improve the squad. I think that in the summer it would be different, but I don’t think in January you can necessarily blame Liverpool or the manager for not strengthening in those kind of areas.
“If you’re looking to entice real quality players, then they’re probably still involved in the Champions League for their clubs or high in the league table and I don’t think it’s easy to convince them to move in January, when they’d be more open to it in the summer.
“You can’t just say ‘oh, they’ve got to buy now because they have the Coutinho money,’ it’s about spending on the right players who improve on what you’ve already got.”
McManaman, however, does believe the goalkeeping dilemma is not helpful to Liverpool with Klopp switching between Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius while Danny Ward, who did well on loan at Huddersfield last season, has not been granted enough of an opportunity.
“I don’t know them personally, but I would think it is unsettling for them,” he said of the ever-changing battle to be the club’s first-choice between the sticks as the Reds actively assess a new No.1, with Roma’s Alisson of interest.
“To be very honest, the fact that there’s constant speculation over the position and that whenever Liverpool do concede a goal there’s a desire to highlight the keepers… I feel sorry for them.
“I don’t think they deserve the criticism, I don’t think it’s as bad as people make it out to be. But the fact there is so many rumours and so much chopping and changing can’t be doing any of them any good.
“Danny Ward played in the League Cup, Liverpool got kicked out immediately and he hasn’t played since, which doesn’t help him either.
“Players are different - their movements, their instincts and so when there’s changes to a team, there is naturally a difference for everyone in the line-up.”
Watch Huddersfield Town v Liverpool on BT Sport 1 on Tuesday 30th January from 7:15pm. BT Sport is where the best in sport go head to head, bringing you live coverage of the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Emirates FA Cup. For more information, visit www.BT.com/sport