Danny Murphy has warned Liverpool to stop starting games thinking they are guaranteed to win them as their complacency will soon cost them.
The Reds beat Sheffield United on Saturday lunchtime to extend their winning run to 16 successive Premier League matches – a run so good it has only been bettered once.
However, it was not easy for Jurgen Klopp’s side at Bramall Lane, with the Blades impressively keeping Liverpool at bay until goalkeeper Dean Henderson fumbled Georginio Wijnaldum’s tame effort over the line.
The goal, netted 20 minutes from time and Liverpool’s first shot on target, was all that separated the sides and ensured the Reds keep their place at the Premier League’s summit.
Nonetheless, it is hard to believe Liverpool will remain so high should they continue to put in performances as lacklustre as Saturday’s, and former Anfield midfielder Murphy believes Klopp will be concerned with what he has seen from his side over the past few weeks.
Speaking to talkSPORT on Monday morning, Murphy suggested the Liverpool players have become over-confident and complacent due to their recent successes – and this will only be a negative in the long run.
“He’ll be a little bit disappointed with the performance,” said Murphy of Klopp, “especially following [matches against] Chelsea and Napoli, because although they won at Chelsea they rode their luck a little bit.
“I think he will be a bit concerned.
“When you are a top team and you’re having the success Liverpool are having, you play sometimes in a comfort zone; what I mean by that is, you’re playing Sheffield United away and you start the game a bit lackadaisical, thinking ‘we’re better than these’ and with a ‘we only have to turn up’ type attitude.
“And then you are on the back foot.
“But they never went a goal behind, and they do what they need to do to get through the game.
“But you can’t keep doing that and getting away with it.
“They got the win through a bad goalkeeping error, but the mindset has to be a bit better and sharper from Liverpool, because they have got away with it in recent weeks.
“I’m all for them winning ugly, but the overall performance in recent weeks will be concerning, because a performance, if it is bad, will generally get punished. And good performances get you wins generally.
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“Liverpool can play better than they are, which is great, and if they play better they will probably win more matches.
“But the thing at the moment is playing average and winning games is a great habit to have, but you have to be careful, because the level of performance for Liverpool and bar they’ve set themselves hasn’t been good enough.”
Liverpool found it tougher against Sheffield United than many believed they would have, and Klopp’s side face another tough test this coming weekend.
The Reds welcome former manager Brendan Rodgers to Anfield with his high-flying Leicester side looking to become the first Premier League team to beat Liverpool this season.