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Exclusive Emile Heskey: It's not wrong to suggest Liverpool are in the midst of a mini-crisis

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Emile Heskey spoke exclusively to the Sunday World

Emile Heskey spoke exclusively to the Sunday World

Getty Images

Emile Heskey spoke exclusively to the Sunday World

Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions are in the midst of a 'mini-crisis' as they prepare for what could be the defining game of their season.

The Reds could be knocked off their perch at the top of the table by deadly rivals Manchester United on Tuesday night, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side needing to avoid defeat at Burnley to overtake Liverpool.

United could then move further ahead of Liverpool if they take advantage of their recent uncertainty by winning at Anfield in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash next Sunday.

Now Heskey - who played 223 games for Liverpool between 2000 and 2004 - has suggested the spotlight is all on his former club after draws against West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle were backed up by defeat at Southampton last Monday.

"We can call this a mini-crisis for Liverpool, partly because they have set their standards so high," Heskey told the Sunday World in an exclusive interview at a BT Sport event.

"They have barely lost a game over the last couple of seasons, but they have gone three without a win in the Premier League now and the defeat at Southampton was a difficult one for them. They have only scored one goal in those games and people are saying they are in free fall.

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Emile Heskey feels Mo Salah’s interview is nothing to worry about. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Emile Heskey feels Mo Salah’s interview is nothing to worry about. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Getty Images

Emile Heskey feels Mo Salah’s interview is nothing to worry about. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

"I wouldn't go that far, but it has to be a concern for Jurgen Klopp when you see the results from the last few matches and the lack of goals.

"A lot of the focus has been on Liverpool's defensive problems since Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez got their long-term injuries, but the goals have dried up at the other end and that is a problem for Liverpool.

"This Manchester United game will be massive now and Klopp needs his team to show their form again as they can't let this run of results in the Premier League go on for much longer."

While United will most likely be in top spot by the time Liverpool play their next Premier League game, Heskey remains convinced that Pep Guardiola's Manchester City remain the biggest threat to Klopp's champions.

"United have to be respected because of the position they are in, but Manchester City are the side to watch," continues the striker who was part of Gerard Houllier's treble-winning Liverpool team of 20 years ago.

"This is a crazy season and you can never count out a side like Manchester City, especially in these bizarre times.

"A few weeks ago, they were in the middle of the table, a long way behind Liverpool and Manchester United were in a similar position. Everyone counted them all out.

"City are a team that can be hard to stop when they get some momentum and we are seeing that now. They are like a juggernaut when they get going and they can go on a long winning run if you allow them to.

"If you look back to the season when they beat Liverpool by one point two years ago, they looked like they were out of it at one point, but then they went on a run and won the league in the end.

"They have so many exciting players, so many dynamic players who can turn it on in the big games, and that's why they are so hard to stop."

Heskey also gave us his verdict on Mohamed Salah, who cast a cloud over his future at Liverpool after giving an interview last month proclaiming his admiration for Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Sparked

When his close friend and Egyptian team-mate Mohamed Aboutrika appeared on TV to proclaim Salah was 'not happy' at Anfield, it sparked a debate over whether the club's star forward was pushing for a move.

Yet Heskey warns we should not jump to conclusions on a player who has two-and-a-half years left on his contract at Liverpool, although he admits the club will have been furious with him for taking part in the contentious interview with a Spanish newspaper.

"I don't think there is too much wrong with Salah," added Heskey. "If you look at his relationship with the manager, it looks stronger than ever. So I don't think there is any reason why he wants to leave.

"It was silly to do that interview and I'm sure the club were not too happy about it, but let's see where this goes.

"Also, these kind of moves can be a ploy or a tactic to get a new contract."

BT Sport is the home of the FA Cup, with all matches available to Sky customers in Ireland with a Sports Extra package.

HESKEY factfile

Born: January 11th 1978

Clubs: Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan, Aston Villa, Bolton

England caps: 62 (7 goals)

Honours with Leicester:

League Cup 1996/97, 1999/2000

With Liverpool:

FA Cup: 2000/01; League Cup: 2000/01, 2002/03

UEFA Cup: 2000/01; UEFA Super Cup: 2001

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