Stephen Warnock: Klopp departure put pressure on the team – but there’s always pressure playing for Liverpool

Stephen Warnock interview for

Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock has told that a combination of Klopp’s resignation alongside injuries to key players Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson saw high-flying Liverpool struggle to maintain the ‘very healthy’ position they were in earlier this season.

Read more on what he had to say below.

I thought Liverpool would have got stronger with the return of their best players

It’s very difficult to say whether Klopp leaving has had the adverse effect on the players at the end of this season. When you think about the time of him making that announcement it seemed as if his hand had been somewhat forced with the information which had been leaked a little bit.

It seemed to galvanise the players to start with and the run they went on was quite brilliant even with all the injuries that they had. When you look back at Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Diogo Jota and Salah being injured I think we all thought to a certain degree that once those players returned, Liverpool would only get stronger.

But when you look back on the season and you think of how many times Liverpool have come from behind to win games, that was a huge ask to continue to do that throughout the course of the season.

There’s an element of pressure there with Klopp’s departure but there’s always pressure on you as a Liverpool player. I think it was just that the position that Liverpool were in at the time was a very healthy one when the announcement came.

This isn’t the same Liverpool of a few years ago

Warnock added that this Liverpool team is now very different to the side that won the Premier League and Champions League in 2019, pointing to changes in midfield as the main factor.

There’s always been the element of Liverpool not being the same team that won the title. That was a team that was defensively very sound, organised and very hard to beat. They played like a Kevin Keegan team with the mindset of ‘we’ll score more than you, and that’s what we’re going to try and do’.

Jurgen Klopp’s style of play was industrious and you knew that when you were up against Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum you had to run at them and get on top of them. Not many could – it was so difficult. But also, they were nasty. They were horrible to play against and would take you from pillar to post. They would outfight you.

I don’t think this Liverpool midfield can outfight teams. I look at Rodri, or Declan Rice, or Thomas Partey and I would not fancy a scrap with any of them in the middle of the field. They’re big lads, powerful players, and so great on the ball as well. You don’t have that at Liverpool right now.

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