Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has hit back at Roy Keane for claiming Liverpool are “bad champions”.
Keane recently made the comment after Liverpool lost 4-1 to title rivals Manchester City. That result was followed by another loss to Leicester, which has raised further questions of Liverpool’s ability to defend their crown.
The champions are 13 points behind City, who also have a game in hand. Although Liverpool still have 14 games to play, it seems like too much ground to make up.
Their recent struggles led former Manchester United midfielder Keane to claim that Liverpool have been making too many “excuses” and are “bad champions”.
Hamann, though, believes that criticism went too far. What Keane may see as excuses, Hamann sees as logical explanations.
“Keane’s criticism is completely exaggerated. The problems can be explained,” Hamann told Sportbuzzer.
“Not only is [Virgil] van Dijk missing, but Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are also. If the entire central defence isn’t there, even Liverpool can’t do anything.
“Thiago should pull the strings, but he still seems like a foreign body to me.
“Then there is the short break, the hassle of games. Freshness, dominance and impact are missing.
“In their heyday, they stole the air from opponents to breathe. Right now, they have to work very hard for every win, but I’m not really concerned about Liverpool.
“Klopp has achieved great things. The foundation for lasting success is in place.”
Klopp receives Crouch backing
Another former Liverpool player to have come to Klopp’s defence recently is Peter Crouch.
The striker recently played down suggestions that the manager, who has led Liverpool to the Champions League and Premier League trophies, could walk away.
“Jurgen Klopp has been – and continues to be – outstanding for Liverpool and if there are any supporters who think his time is over, I would suggest they take a long, hard look at themselves,” Crouch said.
“Whenever the time comes for Klopp to move on, it should be left for him to decide – nobody else.
“Look at his achievements: Liverpool have contested finals, won the biggest prizes, seen players of great potential become world-class superstars under his guidance.
“True, the title defence hasn’t gone to plan but let’s not forget that Liverpool were top of the table on Christmas Day and they are dealing with a remarkable injury list.
“This decline isn’t terminal. History shows Klopp isn’t someone who walks away in difficult moments. Why would he do it now?”