Paul Ince: Liverpool aren’t one of the great teams yet

By Amara Christa

Liverpool’s champions-elect should not yet be considered an all-time great Premier League side, according to former midfielder Paul Ince, because they have not proven that they will be able to sustain success season after season.

Klopp’s side looked to be running away with the Premier League before the coronavirus led to the suspension of all football fixtures. They won the European Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup but were knocked out of all other competitions including the FA Cup and Champions League before the season ground to a halt.

Ince is impressed with Liverpool and he believes they could someday be considered a great side. However, he thinks Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, Arsene Wenger’s Invincible Arsenal side and Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are all more impressive.

“It is tough to say that [they are among the best] but I think what Liverpool have done has been a great achievement,” Paddy Power ambassador Ince told Goal. “I think the quality of the Premier League hasn’t been what it has been [previously].

“Are they a great team? I wouldn’t say they are; you have to win it season after season. I think they have got the talent and the manager to become a great team. Great teams keep winning. If they win it this year and next year, then we can start calling it a great team.

“Like that Man City team, that’s a great team. Liverpool have been good in the last two years but they need to keep winning things before we say it is a great team. You go back to other great teams.

“I say Arsenal Invincibles, those Man United teams and Liverpool teams that kept winning things constantly. European Cups in Liverpool’s case. For United, it was doubles, trebles and league titles.

“Chelsea’s team with Drogba, Terry and Lampard was a great team. Liverpool needs to continue to become a great team.”

Liverpool have a 25-point lead on second-place Manchester City are on the verge of being crowned champions upon English football’s return but Ince feels Klopp will still be anxious to enter the transfer market due to a lack of depth, which hampered their challenge on all fronts in the cups.

“You always have to build and you can never be complacent about what you have done the year before,” Ince added. “There’s always probably one or two players you need to add to keep improving it.

“It has been tough because you look at the front three – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah – they have played every game. The strength in depth hasn’t been enough to get them rest. Liverpool have been fortunate in that department. [Virgil] van Dijk has not been injured.

“They have had the same tight-knit team winning games galore. Things can change next year. Barcelona or Real Madrid could come in and take Salah or Virgil Van Dijk. You just don’t know. So you always have to be prepared for players who can have their heads turned like [Philippe] Coutinho was.

“They will have targets. Four or five players to strengthen again. I am not sure what will happen this season but they are out of the Champions League which they will be disappointed about. The big teams have to keep on improving.

“You have got to have competition because it excites the players and keep them on their toes. If you have new signings, then you step up again and it stops complacency from last year. These players coming in expect to play. Competition is healthy.

“They will have a shortlist to bring in but not many because they have been fantastic. We used to bring one or two in at our time to keep the momentum going. I think Klopp will do the same.”

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