Gary Neville Podcast: Liverpool have gone beyond a dip - it's a real collapse

Liverpool were beaten 1-0 by Fulham on Sunday, registering their sixth successive defeat at Anfield in the Premier League; Liverpool have slipped to eighth in the table with Gary Neville describing their recent drop off in form as "bizarre"

Liverpool have gone beyond a dip to a total collapse in form, Gary Neville has said on his latest podcast after the Reds lost a sixth successive home game on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 1-0 by Fulham at Anfield and have now slipped to eighth in the Premier League table, leaving their title defence in tatters.

It has been a shocking fall from the top for Liverpool, and Neville gave his verdict on their latest defeat on the Gary Neville Podcast.

He said: "How bad are Liverpool? They're really bad… When I say that, I mean really bad in sight of how good they've been. We all like different styles of football and for me, if you said put Manchester City over the last three years against Liverpool, I'm taking Liverpool all day long.

"Their speed of play, the aggression in their play, their style of play, I love it. I love the front three, I love the way the back four played, their goalkeeper is outstanding.

LIVERPOOL 0-1 FULHAM 2:54
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Fulham's win over Liverpool in the Premier League

"This Man City team is a fantastic team, don't get me wrong, and it pains me to say that they are both the biggest rivals for Manchester United. Liverpool have been absolutely outstanding and reached unbelievable heights and I said a few weeks ago on this podcast that it was acceptable that they would have a little bit of a dip and I would go easy on them. We could never do it in the fourth year at Man Utd, there was always that dip, but this isn't a dip - this is a collapse. They're woeful at the moment in every single way.

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"I don't know what it is. I'm sure there's no panic there, I'm sure Jurgen Klopp has got the experience and quality and he will know that he needs to get his team to the finish. He needs to get this season over and limp over the line, even wheelbarrow them over the line if he has to.

"When he gets them to the end of the season, he's going to have to regroup, but then you think about the fact there's a European Championships and then the season will start again pretty quickly. His players aren't going to get much of a rest.

Mohamed Salah and Rhys Williams react after Fulham take the lead at Anfield (AP)
Image: After seeing a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield end, Liverpool have now lost their last six at home

"They've to regroup and make sure the damage that is being done at this moment in time in terms of the confidence isn't long-standing. The fact that they won the Premier League title last season and got to a Champions League final and won the year before, also losing it the year before that, it's still the same group of players.

"In football, I never think it's as bad as it looks or as good as it looks... Liverpool players will be punishing themselves and you can't do what they've done in the last few years without being great professionals and great players. You don't get to two Champions League finals and do what they've done with City, wrestling them right until the end and then winning the title last season, without being a fantastic team.

preview image 0:24
Roy Keane says Liverpool are not currently playing as a team and are now a club in crisis

"But what's happening at the moment is bizarre... and it feels like they've lost absolutely everything that they had. Their speed of play, their confidence, the way in which Anfield was such a difficult place to go, the determination, the resilience to win when they weren't playing well - there isn't anything there at the moment.

"I don't how they get that back other than to get to the end of the season. They're going to struggle to get into the top four - they still could but they're really going to struggle - because the mood in the dressing room at the moment must be really low. The confidence must be drained out of them and I have no answer. It goes beyond what would be a fourth year dip, this is a real collapse.

preview image 1:19
Graeme Souness said Liverpool's first-half performance against Fulham was 'unacceptable'

"They've got a great manager who has done a brilliant job and the owners have got to trust in him to put it right because he's done it for them now for four or five years. Klopp is an unsackable manager for the next five years for what he's done at Liverpool. He epitomises what they want, what they are, he's captured the essence of what Liverpool are as a club, he plays football that's outstanding and he's allowed a really bad season, which is happening at the moment by the standards that they've set."

'What Parker is doing at Fulham is really special'

Scott Parker celebrates after Fulham's win at Liverpool
Image: Scott Parker celebrates after Fulham's win at Liverpool

There was also praise for Fulham manager Scott Parker, who took his coaching badges at the same time as Neville, with his side edging closer to Premier League safety.

Neville added: "A few years ago, when I finishing off my Pro Licence, one of the coach educators within the FA at the time was Roy Hodgson and he particularly mentioned Scott Parker as being an outstanding student within the Pro License cohort at the time.

"It always stuck in my mind and this person doesn't get coaches wrong, he's someone who has been teaching coaches for a long time. He's seen it all and coached a lot of the coaches we see in the Premier League.

3:05
Fulham manager Scott Parker claimed his side 'got what they deserved' in the 1-0 win at Anfield against Liverpool and cited the resilience of his players as a key factor

"You talk about having experience in the Premier League - Scott Parker has no experience at the bottom of the league, he has no experience managing in the Premier League at all. The reality of what he's doing is really special because it goes against everything [that has happened in the past].

"Seven or eight years ago, there would be a period whereby Scott Parker would have been sacked around Christmas and one of the old stalwarts would have been bought in to try and get you out [of relegation].

"What Fulham have done is supported Scott, which they've had to do because they know they have a great young coach, and allowed the team to develop. They recruited well at the end of the transfer window and he's now starting to build momentum. The performances are good and if you're Brighton and Newcastle, you're really worried."

'More important to have best coaches than best players in the PL'

Pep Guardiola
Image: Gary Neville has discussed the influence of Pep Guardiola on the Premier League

Another topic of conversation on the Gary Neville Podcast was the art of playing out from the back, after Granit Xhaka's misplaced pass led to Burnley's goal in a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

Neville cited the influence of coaches like Pep Guardiola for its popularity, and says it is important to have the best managers coming to the Premier League.

He said: "I think it was 2009 in Rome [the Champions League final] between Manchester United and Barcelona when I first saw first-hand [Gerard] Pique and Yaya Toure as centre-backs were split about three yards off the touchline. I'm in the stands injured and thinking 'what are they doing? They're having a laugh, we're going to counter-attack on them and win the game', and they pulled us apart eventually.

We used to say we wanted the best players in the world coming to England rather than going to Barcelona or Real Madrid - I disagree. We need the best coaches coming here because it influences out game, it influences out players in the Premier League but also influences the English players and coaches. It is more important that we have the best coaches than the best players because the best coaches will make the best players and I think we've seen that in the last few years.
Gary Neville on coaches in the Premier League

"We then saw a few teams doing it after that and I thought 'you can't copy Pep Guardiola and Barcelona', but then more teams started to do and now every team has done it.

"It really is credit to Pep. The way he has influenced football over this last 10 to 12 years is incredible. You think of a coach of a generation and you look back at the great coaches - Arrigo Sacchi at AC Milan with the pressurising and pushing up the pitch, Sir Alex Ferguson with the risk and rotation of substitutes and teams, which he introduced into English football for the first time. The great coaches influence eras, not just with the results, but their style of play and the way they approach the game.

"Gone are the days where pundits say 'get it up the pitch and hit the big man', because the reality is that we're not going to change the flow of football that exists. We saw Man Utd do it at the Etihad [on Sunday], Maguire and Lindelof are split in the six-yard box and Henderson playing it to them, popping to McTominay at the edge of the box. It's something I would have felt wholly uncomfortable with during my career because it was something we were told not to do.

Granit Xhaka Burnley 1:03
An error from Arsenal's Granit Xhaka in his own six yard box gifted a goal to Burnley's Chris Wood as his attempted pass ricocheted off the striker in to an empty net in the 1-1 draw at Turf Moor

"There are a few reasons you can do it now - the pitches are outstanding which allows you to do it more than even 20 years ago, the technical ability of the players and the philosophy of the coaches. And ultimately the way the goalkeepers now play better than some outfield players would have done 20 years ago. The game has changed, it should change and we should welcome these changes.

"Gone are the days where I sit on Monday Night Football and criticise Xhaka. I would criticise him for the execution, but not for the principal. For me, I see this as the normality that players will now play out from the back in their own box, but the execution of what he was trying was wrong. The idea that he was given a bad pass by his goalkeeper or team-mate, I don't go along with that either. The reality of it is that pass is expected to be given, they're coached to give that pass to Xhaka there and he just gets it wrong.

"In the last 15 minutes of the Manchester derby, 15 or 20 years ago, it would have been balls lumped into the box with two big strikers on the pitch. It would have been a completely different ending to the game than we've witnessed here today. It doesn't happen anymore and the game is very different.

JOSE MOURINHO (PA)
Image: Coaches like Jose Mourinho will only help improve English players, says Gary Neville

"We're not ever going to change that back, and why should we? It is the development of the game and I do think it is because the influence of Guardiola, Klopp, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, of all these great coaches that we've had. Why I think the Premier League has gone back up to challenging in Europe year in, year out again, is the influence of the coaches.

"We used to say we wanted the best players in the world coming to England rather than going to Barcelona or Real Madrid - I disagree. We need the best coaches coming here because it influences our game, it influences our players in the Premier League but also influences the English players and coaches.

"It is more important that we have the best coaches than the best players because the best coaches will make the best players and I think we've seen that in the last few years."

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