Ian Rush: Liverpool fans right to be excited, but players must take each game as it comes
LONDON – Liverpool’s record goal-scorer Ian Rush is not concerned by the lack of title-winning experience in Jurgen Klopp’s side as they seek to fend off Manchester City and end a 29-year drought.
The Reds, who have not been English champions since 1990, lead the Premier League by four points from Pep Guardiola’s side, the vast majority of whom were integral to last season’s record-breaking title triumph.
By contrast, Liverpool have just James Milner, part of City’s successes in 2011/12 and 2013/14, as their only Premier League winner.
But Rush, who had the benefit when he signed for the club in 1980 of joining a squad that had already won league and European Cup titles, does not believe a lack of experience will be pivotal in this season’s title race.
“How do you get the experience if you haven’t won the title since 1990?” the 57-year-old former striker, who scored in the 2-1 win over QPR that secured Liverpool’s 18th and last top-flight title, told Britain’s Press Association.
“It’s that long ago I actually played the last time Liverpool won the league, which shows how long it’s been.
“A lot comes from how the manager and coaches keep the players’ feet on the ground.
“I think supporters are quite right to be excited as they are in a position they haven’t been for a long time, but players have to take each game as it comes.”
Rush believes there are a number of factors that can help end the long wait.
Defensively they are stronger than they have been for years, conceding just 13 goals in 23 matches, while Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane continue to score regularly.
Salah is once again the Premier League’s leading scorer with 16 strikes, two better than Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
He is unlikely to match his impressive tally of 32 league goals from last season but Rush, scorer of 346 for Liverpool, believes he has improved.
“Last season, for me, he was the best player in the world – and that’s a big statement,” he said.
“He may not score as many goals – it was always going to be more difficult this year – but seems to be a better player, and that is why he is the league’s top scorer,” Rush added.AFP