Football

Next season will be harder for Liverpool: Gary Neville

Ex-United defender says Liverpool's standards can't drop by even 2-3 per cent

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has warned Liverpool's players that the dynamics will change next season, now that they are English Premier League champions.

The ex-England fullback, who retained the EPL title on four occasions at Old Trafford, also said that Reds players can expect manager Juergen Klopp to be even harder on them next season.

Speaking after Liverpool were presented the EPL trophy for the first time in 30 years following a pulsating 5-3 win over fourth-placed Chelsea at Anfield yesterday morning (Singapore time), Neville told Sky Sports: "I remember when Pep Guardiola came in to do Monday Night Football after his first title-winning season at Manchester City.

"He told me off camera that he could guarantee me the players would like him a lot less the following season because he was going to demand a lot more from them to win back-to-back titles. It was an interesting line, that he was going to demand more.

"Klopp is going to have to whip that horse a little bit harder next season to let them know they cannot drop by two or three per cent, because City and other clubs will be back at them again.

"City have shown them the standard, Liverpool have got there; now they have to maintain it."

Neville, who won eight EPL titles, added that he was not worried about the Reds establishing a dynasty like his former club under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He explained: "I'm not concerned. I'd be concerned about Liverpool for a long period if they were bought out by super- rich owners that invested at the level of Manchester City and Manchester United.

"Liverpool are still quite modest with their transfer business compared to the other clubs."

Klopp, however, warned that his side could still improve further after a record-breaking season. He said: "We're champions of England, of Europe and the world. I know what that sounds like, but it's the truth. It's unbelievable, to be honest.

"We'll not stop. We have internal challenges and each player can improve."

The Reds took a 3-0 lead against the Blues via Naby Keita, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum before Olivier Giroud pulled one back just before half-time.

Roberto Firmino made it 4-1 10 minutes into the second half before substitutes Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic launched a fightback that was finally ended by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 84th minute.

Reds skipper Jordan Henderson was rested for the game but, after lifting the EPL trophy, he said: "We were stronger, more confident, more ruthless, really...

"To get 97 points last year and not win was hard to take. We reacted a few weeks later, won the Champions League and then started the season a few weeks later with unfinished business."

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