Ian Rush: Liverpool are facing a season-defining six weeks against their top domestic and European rivals

https://talksport.com/football/452209/ian-rush-liverpool-premier-league-champions-league/

RUSHIE’S WARNING

The Reds play PSG on Wednesday, and will then face Everton, Man United, Arsenal and Napoli in December, before taking on Man City on January 3

Liverpool legend Ian Rush has warned the Reds they are set for a season-defining six weeks as they aim to keep their trophy hopes alive.

Manager Jurgen Klopp’s aim of continuing to fight on two fronts will be severely tested over the festive period against their top domestic and European rivals.

Jurgen Klopp said he wanted to win a title by his third year as Liverpool boss when he was appointed in 2015

Jurgen Klopp said he wanted to win a title by his third year as Liverpool boss when he was appointed in 2015

Liverpool visit Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, with their hopes of making the last 16 of the Champions League very much in the balance.

Klopp’s side then play eight games in December, including Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton, further home games against Manchester United and Arsenal, and a potentially-decisive Champions League clash with Napoli.

The Reds will then kick off 2019 by travelling to Premier League champions Manchester City on January 3.

“It’s one hell of a month and after it we’ll know where we stand,” said Rush, speaking at the 2018 Football Association of Wales and McDonald’s grassroots football awards in Cardiff.

“That’s where we’ll need our squad players if we’re going to be successful.

“I looked at our bench against Fulham [a 2-0 win at Anfield] the other week and it looked really strong.

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“There were some great players on the bench and I think that’s the difference from last season. We’ve got players that can come on and win games now.”

Unbeaten Liverpool have made their best ever start to a Premier League campaign with 33 points from 13 games, yet still trail leaders City by two points.

But their form in Europe has been patchy, with last season’s Champions League finalists losing group games away to Napoli and Red Star Belgrade.

Rush, a Liverpool club ambassador and record goalscorer 346 goals between 1980 and 1996, added: “We did enough at Napoli but they scored in the last minute.

“Maybe we underestimated Red Star a little bit.

“PSG need to beat Liverpool but it could come down to the Napoli game, that’s like a final now and the atmosphere will be electric at Anfield.

Anfield icon Ian Rush at a Liverpool legends game against Borussia Dortmund

Anfield icon Ian Rush at a Liverpool legends game against Borussia Dortmund

“I’d like to see us progress in the Champions League and still put Man City under pressure in the Premier League.

“Last season it was too easy for them. This time if they lose a game we need to be there to overtake them.”

Former Liverpool striker John Toshack said this week that Klopp’s future at Liverpool could not be guaranteed unless he wins a trophy this season.

Will failure to win a trophy this season put pressure on Jurgen Klopp?

Will failure to win a trophy this season put pressure on Jurgen Klopp?

Rush, however, does not see it that way, saying of the German manager: “He said three years [to win a trophy] and he’s in his third year now.

“But if he leaves who are you going to get?

“Everyone loves him, the supporters love him, and there’s no better manager in my book.

“We need to see progression, and last year we were looking at the top four. This year we’re looking at the top two, so we are progressing with him.”

Ian Rush was speaking at the 2018 FAW & McDonald’s Grassroots Football awards, celebrating grassroots heroes across Wales. To find out more about the McDonald’s Grassroots scheme visit: www.mcdonalds.co.uk/grassroots