Gary Neville has suggested that Liverpool would be better off going out of the Champions League to focus on ending their wait for a Premier League title.
The Reds have stumbled in recent weeks, as they’ve dropped points against Leicester City, West Ham United, Manchester United and now Everton.
That in turn has allowed title rivals Manchester City to leapfrog them and go one point clear at the top of the standings with nine games to go.
Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola’s side still have the FA Cup and Champions League to consider, and so will have a packed fixture list in the coming weeks. With that in mind, Neville believes that going out of Europe wouldn’t be a disaster for Liverpool.
“I’m going to say it: go out against Bayern Munich. That sounds like madness,” he is quoted as saying by Sky Sports on his podcast.
“Of course, you’d never play to lose a game but it will be in Liverpool’s favour if they have a clean run as they can get everyone fresh. City have got a couple of FA Cup games, where Liverpool could go five or six points in front. That’s tough to pull back in the closing weeks.
“This title race is still 50-50.”
On one hand, if Liverpool are to prioritise the Premier League title, then this makes perfect sense. As mentioned by Neville, the players aren’t going to go out to lose on purpose, so perhaps Jurgen Klopp tinkers with his line up.
However, there are many flaws in the advice too. Liverpool have a big squad, in turn they should have enough quality and depth at their disposal to compete on two fronts.
It’s a huge risk to drop out of one competition to focus on another, as if they were to fail to win the title, then they would be left empty-handed and open to huge criticism and scrutiny.
With that in mind, the fixture list already favours them as City will be under a lot of pressure to march on in pursuit of a historic quadruple, and so whether Neville is trying to play mind games as a former United player or simply believes that’s the sensible thing to do, it’s highly unlikely Klopp and his players are listening.