Monday 21 October 2019

Gary Neville has a radical plan to revive Liverpool's Premier League title dream as Gary Lineker offers an alternative view

Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts after the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold reacts after the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson after the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville believes Liverpool's hopes of ending the club's long wait for a Premier League title would be greatly enhanced if they are beaten by Bayern Munich in next week's Champions League last-16 clash.

Liverpool and Bayern played out a tense 0-0 draw at Anfield last month to hand the Germans the advantage heading into the home leg, yet Sky Sports pundit Neville has suggested defeat for Jurgen Klopp's side in Munich could be a blessing in disguise.

After they surrendered top spot in the Premier League after 0-0 draw against Everton on Sunday, Liverpool's title challenge at home is faltering and Neville suspects an early Champions League exit could help their cause.

"I'm going to say it: go out against Bayern Munich. That sounds like madness, but it might help them," said Neville, as he summed up Liverpool's recent dip in form.

"Of course, you'd never play to lose a game but it will be in Liverpool's favour if they have a clean run as they can get everyone fresh. City have got a couple of FA Cup games, where Liverpool could go five or six points in front. That's tough to pull back in the closing weeks.

"This title race is still 50-50. Getting points on the board is a big advantage. I always thought that if Liverpool could win the league this season then they'd need a clean fixture list and that means not having Champions League games."

Meanwhile, Gary Lineker disputed Neville's vision of Liverpool's season, as he claimed European glory could inspire domestic glory for Klopp's side.

"The idea that Liverpool's hopes of winning the Premier League title race will be helped if they are not distracted by Champions League matches is nonsense," said Lineker.

"I'm a big believer that confidence is a huge factor in any sport and the best way for a footballer to feel confident is by winning big games. So defeat against Bayern Munich would not help Liverpool at all and, in fact, I think it would have the opposite effect. It would be another big setback after a couple of minor slip-ups in the last month, it would add more doubts and that's what you don't want.

"If they go out and bash Bayern Munich in the manner they did to other teams in the Champions League last season, confidence starts to come back and what has essentially been a small blip for Liverpool with two Premier League draws, it will restore confidence and reinvigorate them.

"Everyone gets a bit carried away at this stage of a season when one of the top teams loses some momentum, but it's very rare that you will steamroller through a season and win everything in sight without a slip-up or two along the way.

"They have had a few injuries that have undermined them to an extent and this is a little test for them, but imagine they go out and blow Bayern Munich away in the first leg of the Champions League tie at Anfield, in a manner they did with Roma last season.

"A win like that would reignite Liverpool and that's why I think it's crazy to suggest they should focus on the Premier League and would be better off out of the Champions League."

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