Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has referenced Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi while addressing ‘confidence’ issues within his own team.
The Reds have made an underwhelming start to the 2022-23 Premier League season, winning just twice in seven games so far. The Merseysiders are languishing in ninth place with just 10 points.
The Anfield outfit were held to a 3-3 draw by Brighton & Hove Albion at home on Saturday (October 1), with Leandro Trossard netting a hat-trick for the visitors.
Liverpool fought back from a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2 and were on their way to a win following two strikes from Roberto Firmino and an Adam Webster own goal. However, Trossard secured his hat-trick in the 83rd minute to snatch a point for the high-flying Seagulls.
Following their worst start to a campaign in the top-flight under Klopp, the German tactician asked if his squad is lacking in confidence right now.
Klopp had an interesting response and referenced Messi and Ronaldo. He said (via Liverpool Echo):
“Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo at the moment is at the top of his confidence? It happens to all of us. Lionel Messi last season pretty much the same. You have to take a step in the right direction and when you’re ready, it’s back [the confidence].”
“In individual sports, you can fight yourself through it. In a team sport, you have to do it together. It can be more complicated.”
Ronaldo struck 18 times for Manchester United last season on his sensational return to Old Trafford. Meanwhile, Messi, who joined PSG from Barcelona, struggled to adapt and scored only six top-flight goals.
This season, however, the shoe is on the other foot. The Argentine is firing at all cylinders with PSG, racing to seven goals already while his old rival has notched just one so far.
As far as Liverpool are concerned, the side have been beset with problems this season as their defense has looked shaky and their attack has blown hot and cold.
Of the 18 goals scored, nine came against Bournemouth alone. Forward Mohamed Salah is also currently on a four-game goalless run in the league.
Messi and Ronaldo in contrasting runs of form
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have started the new season in contrasting runs of form. While the former has netted seven times and made eight assists from 12 games in all competitions, the Manchester United star has found the net just once so far.
Ronaldo converted a penalty against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League in September. However, the Portuguese hasn’t opened his account for the league season yet as he has seen a reduced role under Erik ten Hag.
With the 2022 FIFA World Cup coming up, Ronaldo will have to find his best form sooner rather than later as Messi is shaping up well for the Qatar showpiece.