Martin Keown questions Liverpool's mental strength

The former Arsenal defender says Liverpool must bounce back after Europa League elimination.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has questioned whether Liverpool have the required mental strength ahead of their game against Manchester City.

Brendan Rodgers’ side take on the Premier League champions on Sunday chasing down a potential top-four place, while City are trying to close the gap which separates them from leaders Chelsea.

However, the Reds were knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday night after losing 1-0 to Besiktas in Istanbul and being eliminated on penalties. Now, Keown says he is keen to see if they can respond positively to a continental setback.

“I'm intrigued to see if Liverpool can bounce back after Thursday,” Keown wrote on his Kicca page.

“They're great when they are on a roll but when they hit a road block we’ve seen that the wheels can come off. Liverpool have shown a mental weakness in adversity before, their season starts to unravel and they can’t let that happen again.”

Loss not a disaster 

The Reds are currently sixth in the table, just three points behind Arsenal in fourth. However, the race for the final two Champions League places is fiercely contested, with as many as five teams all in contention.

That brings added significance to the game against City, as a loss, and results elsewhere going against them, would leave Liverpool trailing behind once again having done so well to close the gap over the last couple of months.

Keown though, insists a loss to Manuel Pellegrini’s side would not be the end of the world, but manager Brendan Rodgers must teach his team to move on quickly if they do.

“It would not be a disaster if they lose to City,” added Keown.

“But if they do, Rodgers needs to teach his team to move on quickly. Last season they crumbled after their 16-game unbeaten run ended, throwing away a two-goal lead at Crystal Palace a few days later to surrender the title. That sort of collapse must not happen again and it is up to Rodgers to ensure that.”

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