Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright shared his theory on Liverpool’s struggles after Jurgen Klopp’s side were condemned to a humbling 3-0 defeat by Brighton on Saturday.
Ian Wright believes that chasing Manchester City down over the past few seasons has “taken its toll” on Liverpool and is partly to blame for their current struggles.
The Reds and City have battled for domestic glory on numerous occasions over the past few years: including last season, where City pipped Liverpool to the Premier League title on the final day of the 2021/22 campaign.
Liverpool challenged on all fronts last year but have struggled significantly this term – and Jurgen Klopp saw his side slump to a new low on Saturday when they were thrashed 3-0 by Brighton, who leapfrogged Liverpool in the table after running riot on the south coast.
Liverpool’s defeat against the Seagulls comes just a fortnight after they were picked apart by Brentford and has only fuelled concerns that their season is set to fizzle out. And while some are busy speculating over what has gone wrong at Anfield over the past few months, Wright believes the Reds’ struggles are linked to their intense rivalry with City.
Speaking on Match of the Day, Wright said: “We’re talking about a Liverpool side that was unbelievable in terms of the pressing up front and the midfield backing up, then they’re winning the ball high.
“When we look at how far they are off people, you feel like they’re not getting close enough. I feel like it’s very tough for them.
“Those seasons chasing City down, I think that has taken its toll. Especially still trying to play the high line when you ain’t getting midfielders close enough to other midfielders to stop them from playing that ball over the top or playing that ball through the lines. It just seems like it’s very easy to get through at the minute.”
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Reacting after the game, Klopp – who saw his side come close to an unprecedented quadruple just a few months ago – admitted that Liverpool’s humbling on the south coast ranked as one of the worst games of his Anfield tenure.
“Bad, really bad,” Klopp told Match of the Day. “I can’t remember a worse game. It’s not difficult maybe. Brighton were the better team, it was well deserved. They played really well. It was a very organised team against a not very organised team.
“We gave the ball away, the spaces were too big and we couldn’t push up. That is obviously not good, especially against a super well-drilled side like Brighton.
“They got more confident and we did the opposite. I can imagine they are very happy because it was a great performance and we made it too easy in too many moments. I had an idea to change the formation, which was to try and help the team. That was the idea.
“But we never did it properly. We were always a bit in between and that’s the worst thing you can do. We could have done better but we didn’t and that’s why it looked the way it did. We need to be creative with the options we have. What I saw today from my team was that they were not really convinced by it. That’s it.”