DIETMAR HAMANN has hit back at Roy Keane over his claim that Liverpool are ‘bad champions’.
The Reds have suffered a steep drop-off since claiming their first league crown in 30 years, leaving them sixth in the table.
Roy Keane has criticised Liverpool’s defence of their Premier League titleCredit: Sky Sports
Former Reds midfielder Dietmar Hamann leapt to the defence of his old sideCredit: Getty – Contributor
Manchester United legend Keane, 49, took aim at Liverpool amid a run of three straight defeats in the Premier League.
He had told Sky Sports after the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City: “We spoke before the game about them making a lot of excuses, to me they’ve been bad champions.
“We spoke about some sort of drop-off – they won the league last year and they believed their own hype.”
Hamann, 47, criticised his old rival and pointed out that Liverpool were suffering from plenty of mitigating factors.
Virgil van Dijk is just one of Jurgen Klopp’s defenders out injured, hampering their attempt to repeat last season’s 99-point feat.
The German stated to SportBuzzer: “Keane’s criticism is completely exaggerated.
“Nobody basked in the success at Liverpool, the problems can be explained.
“Not only was Van Dijk missing, but Joel Matip and Joe Gomez were also out. If the entire central defence is unavailable, even Liverpool cannot replace them.
Liverpool are already out of the title race in defence of their crownCredit: EPA
“Thiago should be pulling the strings, he still seems like a foreign body to me.
“Then there is the short break, the hassle of the schedule. Freshness, dominance and momentum are all missing.
“In their heyday they stole the air that opponents needed to breathe. Right now they have to work very hard for every win.
“But I’m not really concerned about Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp has achieved great things, the foundation for lasting success is in place.”
Manchester City are seven points clear atop the table and Hamann added that Pep Guardiola’s side are destined for the title.
And he admitted that a top-four finish will be a tough ask for this ailing Liverpool side.
For Liverpool it can only be about qualifying for the Champions League. This is difficult enough.
The ex-midfielder noted: “Nobody comes close to Man City this season, they are the ultimate.
“For Liverpool it can only be about qualifying for the Champions League. If you look at the table, you will find that this is difficult enough.
“Chelsea are in the fast lane with Thomas Tuchel. Something is growing there.
“Tuchel is an excellent coach, has achieved a lot very quickly, lots of really good players and a lot of competition.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds