Liverpool already out of title race and playing catch-up on top four, claims Carragher

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The former Reds defender believes that Jurgen Klopp's side were never contenders for the crown and need to focus on Champions League qualification

Liverpool have already shifted their focus from a possible Premier League title challenge to a top-four battle, claims Jamie Carragher.

The Reds started the 2017-18 positively to spark talk of a tilt at the top-flight crown, with seven points collected from their opening three games – including a 4-0 mauling of Arsenal.

Brighton 10/1 to beat Everton 2-1

A 5-0 defeat with 10 men at Manchester City proved to be a turning point, though, with Jurgen Klopp’s side having now won just one of their last eight games in all competitions.

Manchester United held them to a 0-0 draw in their latest outing, and Carragher believes that Liverpool are now merely playing catch-up in the scrap for Champions League spots.

The former Reds defender told Sky Sports: "Liverpool will be looking around the clubs going for top four and how far they are behind those positions.

"Even at the start of the season I don't think Liverpool fans expected them to win the title - I certainly didn't.

"Liverpool will be more interested in Arsenal's results - maybe Chelsea and Tottenham - although those two probably think they're capable of catching the two Manchester clubs."

Jamie Carragher Liverpool top four not title

Stalemate against United has left Liverpool eighth in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of leaders City and two behind Watford in fourth.

Carragher believes that Klopp missed a trick against the Red Devils, with it possible that a morale-boosting victory could have been secured had a bit more ambition been shown.

He added: "Jurgen Klopp made changes but he still kept the three-man midfield the same.

"Manchester United showed such a lack of ambition it was worth taking a risk by leaving Coutinho on and bringing on another attacking player.

“Yes, you can get done on the counter but it was obvious United were here for a 0-0 and hoping to nick a goal from a set-piece or a counter-attack. I think Liverpool should have taken the risk to take [Georginio] Wijnaldum or [Emre] Can off.

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"It's not easy as a manager but I'd have taken that chance earlier and the substitutions shouldn't have been just player for player, but more tactical.

"It would have given Liverpool an extra attacking player on the pitch - it could have cost them the game, but it could have won them the game - but the position Liverpool are in, it was a game they had to go for."

Liverpool are back in action on Tuesday against Maribor in the Champions League, before facing another stern test of their top-four credentials when they travel to Wembley to face Tottenham in their next Premier League outing.