Liverpool have had a pretty major crisis when it comes to the centre-back department this year, with injuries to not just first-choice players like Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, but also their backup options such as midfielder and captain Jordan Henderson. This has forced them to get a little more drastic in their choices, such as the introduction of Nat Phillips, who only made his Premier League debut in October.
Speaking on ESPN FC, Burley didn’t show a lot of faith in the defenders that Jürgen Klopp currently has at his disposal and felt that the only way they stood a chance was if some of those injured players were to come back into the fold.
He said: “I don’t see Liverpool [as favourites] unless Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and the rest of the treatment room make a miraculous recovery. I really don’t see how an inexperienced backline are going to handle some of the best attacks in Europe.
“So I really don’t see Liverpool as a threat, maybe I’ll have to eat my words on that, but I don’t think so – not if you’re going to be playing the young lads that we saw at centre-half.”
Will Liverpool win the Champions League again this year?
TIF Thoughts on Craig Burley’s comments regarding Liverpool’s Champions League chances…
Whilst Burley is right out to point out the inexperience of the Liverpool side, if you take a look at their recent results, it’s not as if they have been conceding in bunches on a weekly basis like they were a few months back. Indeed, they have only conceded two goals in the month of March, all whilst trying to work out different combinations and introducing new signings Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies.
If they can continue that pace throughout the knockout stages, albeit against tougher opposition, over the course of two legs it’s not impossible to think that they could pull something off if they can just keep things to a minimum and hope that their forwards, such as the returning Diogo Jota can see them through.