Football

Aldridge: Reds need to man up and win ugly

Liverpool have made a wretched start to 2017, failing to win any of their five league games - the first time that has happened since 1954.

The Reds' only victory in the last 10 matches in all competitions came in an FA Cup replay at fourth-tier Plymouth (1-0).

More damningly, last Saturday's 2-0 loss at Hull City means the relegation-threatened hosts joined a list that features Burnley, Swansea and Bournemouth among clubs to have inflicted league defeats on Liverpool this season.

In contrast, Juergen Klopp's men have the best record in the Premier League when playing sides currently in the top six.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge said that the Reds must "man up" and start to "win ugly".

"I thought we'd struggle at Hull and might labour to a 1-1 draw, but the run that we've had is unacceptable," the 58-year-old told Liverpool Echo.

"We've got to man up. You don't become a bad side overnight.

"Hull, to be fair, have been playing really well of late so nothing should have been taken for granted but, when you're playing these so-called lesser sides, you've got to earn your right to play.

"Pool look like they haven't got too many battlers at the moment. They look like they're just willing to roll over and, for a manager, that's worrying.

"It's happening all the time but they've just got to win ugly.

"The players have got to be mentally stronger.

"People have been saying they're not tough enough and can't play against the 'easy' sides, but they're just underlining these criticisms.

"Let's ram their words down their throats and show them that we can."

Liverpool's title hopes could be effectively over if they lose to second-placed Tottenham on Saturday and striker Harry Kane is targeting a knock-out blow to their ambitions.

Victory for Spurs would put them seven points clear of Liverpool, who could fall 16 points behind league leaders Chelsea if the Blues beat Burnley a day later.

"It is a important game for us. We want to build the gap on Liverpool and, if we beat them, then we go seven points clear of them," Kane said.

"That is what we want to try to do. We want to catch Chelsea and it's important that we stay as high up the table as possible.

"It is not down to us. We don't know if Chelsea are catchable.

"All we can do is win our games. Hopefully, they drop a few points here and there."

- WIRE SERVICES

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