‘They should forget about it as soon as they have won it’: Gary Neville tells champions elect Liverpool they must get BETTER after winning the title – as he insists Alisson deserves player of the year award
- Liverpool are on the brink of sealing their first-ever Premier League crown
- Liverpool have cruised to the title, sitting 25 points clear of nearest challengers
- But Gary Neville has warned the Liverpool squad they have to improve next term
- The ex-Man United star says a ‘very angry’ City side will be gunning for Liverpool
- Neville also sung the praises of Liverpool and Brazil goalkeeper Alisson
Gary Neville believes Liverpool will have to improve if they are to win the Premier League next season.
With the country awaiting the coronation of Jurgen Klopp’s team once the current season swings back in to action this week, Liverpool will soon be celebrating their first league title for 30 years.
A serial winner with Manchester United during his years in the game, Neville thinks Liverpool’s players can improve next season and warned they may have to.
Gary Neville has warned champions-elect Liverpool that they may have to improve next season
‘You really have to go to the next level,’ said Neville.
‘You can’t just repeat your performance because everybody has seen that. You have to go above it.
‘Liverpool are capable of doing it but they will have a very angry Manchester City and Pep Guardiola chasing after them.’
Neville – now a lead pundit on Sky – won eight Premier League titles during his years at United. Liverpool only have to win two more games to clinch the current one ahead of defending champions City.
‘They mustn’t think the first one is the holy grail,’ he said.
‘They should forget about it as soon as they have won it.
‘That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t celebrate. They should celebrate like hell when they win it in a couple of weeks.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have cruised to the Premier League title under Jurgen Klopp this season
‘But it will come from the manager. He doesn’t strike me as the type who will get carried and think: ‘This is it. I have done it. I have won the European Cup, got my statue and won the league’. He is not that type of guy.
‘But in terms of back to back titles it’s purely up here in your head. It’s not a talent thing.
‘My main criticism of Manchester City in the early years of them winning titles was that I always felt that after they had won it they all relaxed.
‘Winning the league either makes you feel you have done it and you will ease off 2 or 3 per cent – which is not a big margin but it’s enough to make you lose the league – or it will give you confidence, experience and maturity to make you better.
‘Manchester United teams over the years was largely the same squad apart from two or three players that the manager would bring in and out.
‘From that point of view he relied on our experience and confidence and maturity to grow. You win leagues by feeling more confident and comfortable in the pressurised parts of the season.
Neville has warned Liverpool that a ‘very angry’ Man City will be gunning for them next term
‘I think Liverpool can improve. Those players can improve. Just by staying at the level they are at now but with having extra confidence and maturity from winning it already – and arrogance from winning the Champions League and the Premier League in two seasons – those players should be at a level they have never been at in their lives.
‘Brian Kidd [former United assistant manager] told me in my early days all I had to do each season was progress, just a little bit. Something different and better. That may be fitness or a tactical change.
‘I would love to see Liverpool at their peak now – that this was as good as it was going to get – but a Liverpool fan would hate to think this was the best of Virgil van Dijk – at his age – or the best of Trent Alexander-Arnold or that Andy Robertson wouldn’t be the same player next season.
‘Why would you think that? I wouldn’t think that of Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane or Mo Salah. ‘They have produced over two or three years now. It’s not as though they are a flash in the pan.’
Liverpool’s season is due to resume on Sunday with a Merseyside derby at Everton. They will have goalkeeper Alisson back after injury ruled him out of his team’s Champions League defeat against Atletico Madrid before the Covid-19 outbreak brought the season to a halt.
Neville thinks the Brazilian goalkeeper should be the Player of the Season.
He said: ‘I think Alisson has made Liverpool win the League.
The former Manchester United right back has been singing the praises of goalkeeper Alisson
‘Two or three years ago I said Liverpool would never win the League whilst their current goalkeeper was in position.
‘Jurgen Klopp came for me but as soon as Alisson came I saw what I once saw at Manchester United with Peter Schmeichel and then I saw it in that next spell where we had greatness with Edwin van Der Sar.
‘Once your goalkeeper is calm, authoritative and saves most shots on his goal it gives confidence to the rest of the team. The impact of that is absolutely incredible.
‘Van Dijk is one of the best centre halves I have ever seen live but for me Alisson has been the big change.
‘They won the European Cup and they will win the league. I put van Dijk just behind but Alison has had the biggest impact at Liverpool.’
The Premier League returns to Sky Sports with a double-header on 17 June, followed by a further 20 matches which will see all 20 teams live on Sky Sports and NOW TV in the opening two weeks.
Sky Sports and NOW TV will show 64 matches – 39 exclusive to subscribers and an extra 25 available on Sky’s free-to-air channel ‘Pick’
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