Friday, January 20, 2017

Liverpool must react at Old Trafford, warns Fairclough

A repeat of Liverpool’s wretched display against West Ham at Manchester United on Saturday will not be tolerated by the club’s fans, David Fairclough has warned.

Brendan Rodgers’ side went into the recent international break off the back of a chastening 3-0 home defeat to Slaven Bilic’s side – the first time the east London club had won at Anfield in over 50 years.

That result punctured Liverpool supporters’ cautious early-season optimism after they had seen their team collect seven points from three Premier League games, including a spirited 0-0 draw at Arsenal.

Next up for Liverpool is a trip to face arch-rivals United at Old Trafford, and former striker Fairclough has told the club’s current crop of players they must stand up and be counted or else endure the wrath of the fans.

Speaking to Omnisport at Soccerex, Fairclough labelled the West Ham result “a dose of reality”, adding: “I think particularly after the Arsenal performance, in the first half a lot of Liverpool fans were quite excited. Certainly on that evidence, Liverpool looked like a team that will threaten the top four or five places.

“A lot of Liverpool fans came with high expectations, it [West Ham at home] is normally a pretty comfortable game for Liverpool, but unfortunately they never got out the blocks really.

“I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted two weeks’ break after that performance against West Ham because it was so poor, but certainly the United game is one you have to react to. 

“If you don’t turn up for a game against Manchester United then the fans will let you know.”

Defeat to West Ham once again ignited talk about Rodgers’ future, after the Northern Irishman survived the close-season despite Liverpool stumbling to a sixth-place finish last term.

But Fairclough – winner of six league titles and three European Cups with Liverpool between 1975 and 1983 – does not feel a change in manager is needed currently.

He added: “He’s the man in charge at the moment and it’s hard to see what change ultimately brings about. 

“You’ve got to be careful – you can’t just go out on a limb and say changing the manager is the answer to all problems. 

“People will draw all kinds of conclusions based on statistics and that kind of thing, but for the moment, speculation regarding the manager is not really a good thing to get involved in.”

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