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14 Jan 2017

Legend insists: 'Fantastic' £43m 'superstar' is the reason Man Utd will beat Liverpool. Agree?

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown insists that Liverpool's 'lack of balance' will lead to defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday.

In his Friday column for the Daily Mail, Keown predicted a 2-1 victory for United, and claimed that 'tired' Liverpool do not have 'the same energy levels as earlier in season'. He further noted:

"Liverpool will miss Mane. The trio of Mane, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino is so effective. Coutinho makes great runs, Mane has pace and Firmino presses and holds the ball up. Without Mane they do not have the same balance".

Liverpool's tiredness is an inevitably by-product of Klopp's intense 'heavy metal football', a style of play that simply cannot be sustained effectively for an entire season, especially when injuries are factored into the equation. Be that as it may, tiredness cannot be used as an excuse this season, but that's exactly what Klopp has tried to do. After the 2-2 draw with Sunderland, Klopp moaned:

"I'm not able to explain it because I'm not sure if you can play better with that [2-day] break".

Klopp comments infuriated Reds hero Steve Nicol, who told ESPN:

"I’m so disappointed. I didn’t think that Klopp would turn round and blame the break. It’s just a crutch to explain a bad performance or result. I’m fed up with it. It’s part of the culture, so don’t start complaining".

I totally agree with this. There is no excuse to use fixture pile-up or tiredness as an excuse for poor results. Klopp has known about the fixture list for months, and he's had every opportunity to prepare for the January pile up. Plus, Liverpool are comparatively rested as there are no European games and long-haul trips to worry about.

If Liverpool lose on Sunday, the intense fixture list will have nothing to do with it, and any attempt to use that as an excuse should be slapped down. As for missing 'fantastic' Mane - yes, he's an important player, but the team has proven that it's not reliant on one player, so it's a little disingenuous to argue now that Mane is the be all and end all of Liverpool's league success this season.

* Mane: £43m-rated (CIES Football Observatory). Described by Danny Murphy as a superstar'


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