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‘Liverpool suffering second season syndrome and will struggle to finish in top six’

Liverpool will struggle to finish in the Premier League TOP SIX this term as they struggle with ‘second season syndrome’, QPR forward and Reds fan Charlie Austin has told talkSPORT.

Jurgen Klopp’s side ended the weekend all the way down in sixth place, a massive 19 points behind league leaders Manchester City after losing Saturday evening’s Merseyside derby.

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It was another night to forget for Liverpool

It was Everton’s first win at Anfield since 1999, and made it four successive league defeats for the Reds to continue their rapid slide down the table.

Incredibly, Liverpool have now also lost each of their past four league games at Anfield and the last time that happened was 1923!

Retaining their Premier League crown is now well and truly off the cards for Liverpool, and even securing a place in the top four seems unlikely given they are five points behind West Ham in fourth.

But Reds fan Austin, who is on loan at QPR from West Brom, says his beloved club should actually be worried about finishing in the TOP SIX!

Speaking as co-host on Monday’s Drivetime, Austin told talkSPORT: “Second season syndrome… you usually say that about promoted teams, that they do well the first year but the second year they fail.

“Hang on a minute, Liverpool are doing it here.

Everton secured a history-making 2-0 win at Anfield on Saturday evening

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Everton secured a history-making 2-0 win at Anfield on Saturday evening

“Me being a Liverpool fan, it was fantastic last year. I was thinking, ‘come on, let’s back it up and go on a run of two/three/four/five years like United did’.

“But it’s just not happened.

“And at the moment it’s going to be a struggle for top four… it’s going to be a struggle for top six!”

Austin also criticised Liverpool’s poor transfer business, especially in relation to their failure to replace Virgil van Dijk by not signing a new central defender until the very last day of the winter window.

The striker added: “They’ve got a long list of injuries – I get that, I do – but that is part of football.

“Van Dijk has a massive injury in November, and they know he’s out for the season, and it takes them until deadline day to try and replace him?

Van Dijk’s absence has seriously weakened Liverpool

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Van Dijk’s absence has seriously weakened Liverpool

“You can’t replace him, but to bring in someone that can fill the void… I’m not sure they’ve been able to do that.”

Speaking on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, Anfield legend Jamie Carragher put all the praise for Everton’s derby win at manager Carlo Ancelotti’s door.

“I never gave a man of the match in the game for whatever reason, maybe it slipped my mind,” said Carra. “There was probably three or four Everton players you could have given it to, but I watched the game again yesterday morning when I got up and their man of the match was the manager, Carlo Ancelotti.

“I’ll tell you the reason, in my experience, [Everton’s derby] record is so poor, and also at Goodison in the last 20 years as well. Everton never get the derby right emotionally.

“They’re either too up for it, and they get players sent off, or they’re absolutely terrified going into games, certainly at Anfield.

Champions last season, but where will Liverpool finish this term?

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Champions last season, but where will Liverpool finish this term?

“And the reason I say Ancelotti won Everton that game, is that he took the emotion out of the game, with the team he picked. So when that team came in, Evertonians, getting ready for the game, their heart sank. No Calvert-Lewin, and no Allan. Now, Allan hasn’t played for two months. Calvert-Lewin was coming back from a hamstring injury. So it’s the right decision.

“But emotionally at times, Everton see the derby as the biggest game you have to win. Roberto Martinez told me a story where he almost felt pressured to play Gareth Barry in a derby game at Anfield and he wasn’t 100-per-cent fit.

“He got injured, they lost the game, and he missed an FA Cup semi-final, and he always looks back at that as a huge regret. Ancelotti, again, ended up saying this is three points for our European ambition, forget Liverpool.”

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