| 12.3°C Dublin

Fans the secret weapon

Champions have the perfect drive to double down on title bid this season


.Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (centre) and his team-mates celebrates with the Premier League trophy

.Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (centre) and his team-mates celebrates with the Premier League trophy

.Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson (centre) and his team-mates celebrates with the Premier League trophy

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a secret weapon up his sleeve as he aims to set new targets for his players after they ended the club's long wait for a Premier League title.

Speaking to The Herald at a Sky Sports event, Liverpool legend Carragher stressed he was not concerned by Liverpool's uncertain form since football returned in June, with their Community Shield defeat against Arsenal added to list of below-par display since football returned in June.

Their thumping 4-0 defeat against rivals City in July and uncertain performances since they were crowned as champions has fuelled suspicions that Jurgen Klopp's champions might be vulnerable at the start of the new campaign.

Yet Carragher suggests the Liverpool fans could now be the ultimate motivating factor for Klopp and his players as they look to remain on their perch as the kings of English football.

"If I was a player, I would be desperate to retain the title so we could celebrate it with the fans a year from now because getting the trophy at an empty Anfield took something away from the title win last season," begins Carragher, ahead of Liverpool's season opener against Leeds tomorrow.

"It was cruel on the fans and it was equally cruel on the players because those moments don't come around too often in the life of a footballer. Liverpool's challenge now is to make it happen again and hopefully celebrate it with the fans.

"A big part of winning things is having that moment with the supporters. Players want medals, of course they do, but players want to be on open-top buses with trophies and seeing the joy it brings to people.

"That is such a massive part of being a successful sportsman and those days are a big part of your memories when you finish playing.

"For me, the celebrations when we returned from Istanbul with the Champions League trophy in 2005 are a massive part of the whole experience and it was a real shame for Klopp and his players that they missed out on that.

"If I was Klopp, I'd be telling the players that the supporters who would have been desperate to be at Anfield are due their moment now. They want to be there to see that trophy lifted by Jordan Henderson and that is the new mission for Liverpool now.


"If we can get fans back into the stadium by the end of this season, maybe it will provide extra motivation for Liverpool to try and with the title again with spectators in the stands this time."

Fans will be absent from Premier League matches until October at the earliest and Carragher believes that could have a bigger impact on Liverpool than some of their biggest rivals.

"If the whole season is played behind closed doors, I would fancy Manchester City to win the league as the supporters are not so significant for them," he continues.

"The way Liverpool play, the energy they get from the crowd and the influence they can have on the opposition, it is a big part of what makes this club special. It is not just the 12th-man factor at Anfield as the fans are so important to what this team do.

"Jurgen Klopp has a way of involving the crowd and getting them involved with his antics on the side of the pitch, but we hope it won't be like this for long.

"We all want fans back in the stadiums as soon as possible. There is that famous banner that reads: football without fans is nothing. It had a different meaning as it was a protest about how much fans were being asked to pay to watch games, but it has proved to be true in the last few weeks as the game is not the same without them."

Liverpool's lack of transfer activity this summer has been a concern to some of their supporters, with their interest in Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara rumbling despite no serious moves from the Anfield club.

They also decided to walk away from a deal to sign Timo Werner after conceding they didn't have the cash to compete with Chelsea for the deal, but Carragher admits he can understand why they withdrew from the bidding for the Germany striker.


"He wouldn't get into the Liverpool team right now, so that suggests he wasn't as important as signing as some suggested he could have been," he added.

"The concern for Liverpool is whether they have strength in depth to cover if one of their forwards get injured and that is a question Jurgen Klopp might not want to find the answer to.

"Werner still has something to prove. He scored lots of goals in Germany with RB Leipzig last season, but he wasn't great at the last World Cup and I would question why Bayern Munich did not try to sign him. They normally snap up all the best German players historically, but they didn't go for Werner, but let's see how he gets on before we pass judgement.

"He will be an exciting addition to the Premier League and Chelsea have made some huge signings this summer, so it will be interesting to see if Frank Lampard can blend them all together.

"For me, the top two are still going to be Liverpool and Man City and hopefully this season, we see a closer race between them."

  • Watch 140 matches from the Premier League season exclusively live on Sky Sports and NOW TV.