Liverpool’s former European Cup-winning captain Graeme Souness is concerned his old side do not have enough depth in the squad to cope with the double demands of Premier League and Champions League football.
Jurgen Klopp’s failure to land primary target Virgil van Dijk to bolster an often suspect defence has been much debated and will continue to be until the January transfer window opens.
But even the arrival of winger Mohamed Salah, who is proving an instant success, striker Dominic Solanke, full-back Andrew Robertson and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has not done enough to address the overall issue, according to Souness.
Asked whether they had the resources to cope with two high-profile competitions the former Scotland international told Press Association Sport: “No I don’t.
“The fact he went out on such a limb to get Van Dijk, didn’t get him and has not got anyone since then tells you that was an area he was trying to strengthen.
“That he was willing to pay such big money for a defender suggests that is his priority going forward.”
Souness, speaking at the launch of Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge starting on October 1, added: “They had a clear run last year (a season without European football) but there’s no doubt about it more games means you need more players and I don’t think he’s got that strength in depth.
“If they were to have a bad run of injuries and some key games came along it would hurt them badly.
“Manchester United could survive, it wouldn’t hurt City at all and those are the two teams you look at to do well in both competitions. They have stronger squads to pick from.
“What has happened with the Champions League is teams are focused on the next (European) game and not the (Premier League) one in front of them.
“You have to get results in both competitions.”
Souness, who won 11 trophies at Anfield as a player, including three European Cups and five league titles, believes that lack of depth restricts Klopp’s options.
For example, 20-year-old defender Joe Gomez is suspended for Tuesday’s Champions League match in Russia against Spartak Moscow so his only choice with Nathaniel Clyne injured is to play Trent Alexander-Arnold, two years younger and with equally little European experience.
Souness thinks such situations inevitably leave the side susceptible at the highest level, even though many of the players have plenty of experience of the Europa League.
“When you come up from the Championship to the Premier League you get punished for the mistakes you make far more than in the Championship,” he said.
“And that is the exact same when you go into the Europa League and then the Champions League – if you make mistakes there you get punished.”
:: Graeme Souness is supporting Stoptober, the 28-day stop smoking challenge starting on October 1. If you quit for 28 days, you are five times more likely to quit for good. Search ‘Stoptober’ for all the support you need to quit this October: www.nhs.uk/oneyou/stoptober
Source: By PA Sport Staff