Rio Ferdinand has explained the reasons why he believes Liverpool could struggle again this season.
Liverpool finished 17 points off top spot last season and were knocked out of Europe by Real Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
But a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on the final day of the Premier League season saw the Reds secure third and Champions League football for this season.
At one stage, that appeared extremely unlikely for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but a fine sequence of results, accompanied by Leicester City’s downturn in form, saw the tide change.
However, the Reds are set to be without Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for a spell in January due to the Africa Cup of Nations taking place.
And Ferdinand believes that, plus the loss of Gini Wijnaldum, who left the club earlier this summer to join PSG, could prove costly for Klopp’s side this season.
“It’s massive. The legs, the energy, he was the engine in there.” the former Manchester United said on Wijnaldum’s departure.
Before he continued on his FIVE YouTube channel: “You know what is it AFCON this year as well?
“It’s AFCON so they’ll miss Mane and Salah at some point. Wow. I think it’s a big year for Liverpool and I’m a bit concerned for them in a lot of ways. they’re relying on the same front three again.
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“Van Dijk and Gomez, we don’t know how they’ll recover. Midfield is an important part. Their midfield was based on energy, legs, intensity.
“Yes they have quality but it’s not possession based. It was fast and up and at them. It was about transition – losing the ball and retrieving the ball. Getting up and pressing teams.
“Can they do that now with the players they’ve got in there? Robertson is a big miss for Liverpool.”