Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool are capable of climbing up the Premier League and winning the title this season but admits they need to improve quickly to keep up with the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal.
A goalless draw in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday means Liverpool have lost points in four of their first six games this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side won the Premier League in 2019 and came within a point of the title last season but have had a disappointing start to the current season and appear to be struggling with a number of important injuries.
The Reds are already six points behind early leaders Arsenal and four behind Manchester City, who have both games in hand.
Asked if he still sees Liverpool as title contenders, former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand told BT Sport: “Listen, you have to look at the last few years and the fact that they’ve been right up there were and have raised the bar in Premier League along with Man City.
“That would suggest they can improve and will be up there. But you can’t afford to let this Man City team get too far away and there’s already a small gap.
“It might be too much. Can they sustain a push and come back up? I think they will.
“But they need the injured players to come back and achieve a certain level of consistency in this team.
“They need to clarify a few things because they’re not in full swing right now.”
Ferdinand spoke after Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with arch-rivals Everton on Saturday.
Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah all hit the post for Liverpool, although Everton also ran close through Tom Davies and Conor Coady, who had a goal disallowed for offside.
“It was a fair result,” added Ferdinand. “Liverpool had the better chances but they didn’t have control of the game or luck in front of goal. That happens sometimes, but they will be frustrated.’
Klopp, meanwhile, admitted his side were struggling to cope with the absence of a number of injured stars after they dropped points again at Everton.
He said: “The situation we are in right now is not a dream. It’s good to have players coming back, but we need to make sure we’re using them properly.
“It’s not the start we wanted. Six games and nine points isn’t exactly a dream, but those are the points we have and we can go from there.
“By getting through these moments together, we have a chance to create better moments in the future.”
Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign on Wednesday night with a trip to Italy to face Serie A side Napoli.
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