Ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville: Two reasons behind Liverpool’s underachieving campaign

Liverpool have failed to replicate last season’s success.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has told Sky Sports that bad recruitment and the Champions League are behind Liverpool’s underachieving campaign.

The Reds currently lie in fifth spot in the Premier League table and their hopes of a top four finish ended with a 1-1 draw at newly-crowned champions Chelsea.

With two cup semi-final defeats and an early Champions League exit to boot, it hasn’t been a good season for the Merseyside outfit and certainly not a patch on the previous campaign.

Speaking in the Sky Sports studio ahead of the encounter at Stamford Bridge, Neville highlighted the Reds’ summer recruits and the taxing European campaign as the defining cause of their struggles.

“They started the season poorly. The players they brought in haven’t settled as quickly as they would have wanted. They had a big turnaround of players,” Neville explained.

“They needed to boost the squad. They didn’t have enough players last season and it helped them not being in Europe. They were able to play the same 12 or 13 players all the time.

“They were never going to be able to do that this season with the Champions League and it’s found them out a little bit.”

Where do Liverpool go from here?

The failure to qualify for next season’s edition of the Champions League will hurt the club financially, but it could help their domestic campaign if they manage the Europa League well.

The Reds have a number of top young players in their ranks, and the potential is there for them to challenge, as proven by their previous 13-game unbeaten run in the league.

However, certain areas of the first-team XI need strengthening and a number of last summer’s recruits such as Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren must improve.

Brendan Rodgers’ first task will be to buy a proven goal scorer, as their season tally of 50 goals is less than half the amount they managed during the previous Luis Suarez-inspired campaign.

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