Gary Neville isn't paying attention; what Liverpool are 'missing' is simple
Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Gary Neville isn't paying attention; what Liverpool are 'missing' is simple

Gary Neville believes something is ‘just missing’ at Liverpool. He’s not paying attention if he can’t figure out what it is.

Gary Neville believes ‘something is not right’ with Liverpool right now. That’s after watching their first three games.

“I was at the game on Saturday, Liverpool v Chelsea, and I said after the game – sometimes you can’t put your finger on it [but] something’s not right,” he told the Webby & O’Neill Youtube channel.

“Not bad. There’s no massive spirit issue, or the manager falling out with players. Nothing like that.

“But there is something just missing. I remember going three years ago and thinking ‘we [United] are in trouble’. Two years ago thinking, ‘we are in serious trouble’.”

He’s definitely right, for starters. We’re just amazed he can’t figure out the ‘something’. Liverpool have looked good but not great over their first three games.

But any more than that would have been simply remarkable.

Gary Neville on Liverpool

Take a look at Liverpool’s first three starting lineups and it’s quite clear what the ‘problems’ are. Firstly, the two centre-backs have barely featured in 2021.

Virgil van Dijk didn’t play competitive football between October 2020 and August 2021. Joel Matip from January 2021 until the opening day. There’s no way that both are at their best.

On top of that, Van Dijk played with Kostas Tsimikas to his left – a full-back with six Premier League minutes last season and one who the Dutchman didn’t feature alongside.

In midfield, Liverpool have changed it up in every game. Fabinho, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain kicked things off. Then Jordan Henderson and Harvey Elliott came in. There hasn’t been any consistency.

And in Elliott, Liverpool are giving regular minutes to an 18-year-old who had previously only completed a full campaign in the Championship. He’s still wildly inexperienced.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

So in short, what’s missing is ‘time’. This is a Liverpool team that is a mix of new and returning, full of players attempting to get up to speed with one another. That will take a few months.

Thus it’s telling that Neville brought up two years ago. Liverpool raced to the title that season but for good reason – they made zero changes the previous summer. They stuck with exactly the same XI and simply went again.

Of course, they looked better. Liverpool were sharp out of the gates but you’d expect that from a squad of players who were 100% in sync with one another.

This squad isn’t – yet. We’ve still got Thiago to adapt to Van Dijk and co., too, while Curtis Jones is yet to play.

Give this squad more time and there’s little doubt that they’ll look sharp once again. Anyone paying attention should be able to see that.

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