Liverpool don't need to hit the panic button after Premier League champions' slump in form, says Carragher

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2020-21
Jurgen Klopp's side have stuttered in front of goal in recent weeks but the club's former defender is looking forward to a close title race

Jamie Carragher has insisted Liverpool do not need to hit the panic button after their first big slump in form for three seasons, as he backed Jurgen Klopp champions to rediscover their mojo and bounce back in the Premier League title race.

Last Sunday's 0-0 draw against Manchester United saw Liverpool fail to score for a third successive match, as the reigning champions slipped further behind their rivals in an unpredictable title race.

Yet Liverpool legend Carragher, who played 737 games for the club in a career that saw him win nine major trophies, has insisted the alarm bells ringing for Klopp's misfiring side are misplaced, with their dip in form not providing evidence that they are about to surrender their title. 

Ahead of Liverpool's game against Burnley on Thursday, Manchester City have been installed as title favourites and Carragher believes this season's race is too unpredictable to call at this stage.

"Panic is not a word I would use to describe where Liverpool are at this moment because as a team, they have proved themselves time and again in recent years, but they have some questions to answer now," said Carragher, speaking to Goal at a Sky Sports event.

"You can't say Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane are not great players, of course not. They've had a dip in form, that is all they have had at this moment and also, teams are working out how to play against Liverpool.

"I think when Jurgen Klopp initially came in there was a problem against teams who defended deep against them, certainly at Anfield. They would drop points in those games and that seemed to have gone away in the last couple of years. 

"Now it looks like they are having problems breaking teams down. They have played their last three fixtures against teams where you would expect them to have maybe seven points out of nine in those games.

"People talk about missing Virgil van Dijk and, bizarrely, they haven't missed him defensively really, when you look at the record. But of course you miss him for lots of different reasons, and actually on the ball…in terms of building from the back and starting the attack, Liverpool mixed it up really well, playing different balls last season. 

"This team had a great balance last season. They would be direct at times in a football sense, where you'd see Van Dijk play that ball over the top or switch the play and it would be really quick.

"At the moment, the football just feels a bit slower I would say and I think a lot of that is the build-up from the back. Van Dijk is unique in being a great defender and (having) his ability on the ball. I think teams that want to stop Liverpool and are maybe coming for a draw are finding it easier to regroup and be compact and not be moved about as much and as quickly, certainly because of Van Dijk being out."

Carragher believes a more competitive title race is good for the Premier League, as he argued the unpredictability of this season is making for compelling viewing for fans unable to attend games due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We wanted to see the other teams get closer to Liverpool because we need it to be more competitive than it was last season," he continues. 

"From a Liverpool perspective, it was great to win the league in the manner they did last season, but you want to see a competitive title race and we didn't really get that last season. 

"We don't want any team to be 20 or 30 points ahead and while I want Liverpool to win the league, obviously, I'd like to see them in the tight title race and winning it on the last day of the season in exciting fashion, going down to the wire. 

"If the top one or two teams are getting 99 and 100 points every season, it means there are less points to go around and the teams at the bottom are stranded with no points and the teams outside the title race are miles away from the contenders. 

"I would like to see the total points needed to win the Premier League go down to less than 90 points this season as that would mean we have a more interesting title race and that's what we are getting now.

"One week you feel United are out of it, then two weeks later they are top. Spurs were up there for a time. Chelsea have had moments when they looked threatening.

"For me, it will still be between City and Liverpool at the end of the season, but Man Utd have certainly put themselves in the mix."

Liverpool vs Burnley is live on Sky Sports and NOW TV on Thursday.