Two Liverpool players are a catalyst to Jurgen Klopp’s problems at Anfield according to Liverpool legend Steve Nicol.
Steve Nicol, a former player for Liverpool, thinks it is not surprising that his former team is having trouble given the reliance on James Milner and Harvey Elliott in the middle of the field.
The Reds’ poor start to the season was made worse by their 4-1 Champions League loss to Napoli on Wednesday.
Liverpool has won just two games so far this season and is now six points off the top of the Premier League standings.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s team suffered one of their toughest defeats at Anfield with the defeat in Naples.
Napoli was up 3-0 at the interval and promptly increased their lead to 4-0 after the break.
Alongside Fabinho, Milner and Elliott both got the start in midfield.
Milner, 36, only signed a new one-year contract in June after his previous deal was coming to an end. Meanwhile, Elliott doesn’t turn 20 until next April.
Elliott has started six of Liverpool’s seven games this season, while Milner has started three but come off the bench in the other four.
Nicol has sympathy for Klopp and thinks the two Liverpool players are a catalyst to Jurgen Klopp’s problems at Anfield.
Liverpool have been without the likes of Thiago Alcantara and captain Jordan Henderson in recent weeks, and Nicol says the dependence on Milner and Elliott is a big part of Liverpool’s struggles.
The Scot told ESPN FC: “There’s no question, you have to sympathize with Liverpool as far as the injuries [are concerned].
“You’re having to play James Milner, who signed a contract basically to be able to give other players a rest and come on for half an hour. That’s what James Milner signed a new contract for and that’s why they asked him to do it.
“But he’s having to play in your biggest game of the season, and Harvey Elliott is a rookie. This guy is learning his trade and so when you’ve got two of your midfielders in the position they’re in, one with no experience and one with too much experience, then the engine room is going to be in trouble.”
However, Nicol believes the biggest issue is the defence. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have received strong criticism since the loss in midweek, while Virgil van Dijk has had an unusually shaky start to the season.
Nicol added: “For me, the biggest problem is the backline, and that’s down to coaching. Because the backline looks as though they haven’t worked on any sort of defending since the start of the season. It’s a complete and utter mess.”