Liverpool “missed the chance to win the title last season”, says El Hadji Diouf, with a former Reds star not expecting Jurgen Klopp’s side to challenge again in 2019-20.
After 29 years of waiting, those at Anfield came agonisingly close to landing an elusive top-flight crown in 2018-19.
Klopp’s men suffered just one league defeat all season, but that setback came at the hands of Manchester City and the Blues eventually scraped over the line by a solitary point.
The challenge facing Liverpool now is to replicate those efforts in the upcoming campaign and go one step further.
Diouf is not convinced that they will be capable of doing that, with the outspoken Senegalese of the opinion that the Reds blew their big chance.
He told The Mirror of a side that made amends for missing out on a domestic title by claiming Champions League glory: “They were very good last season. I don’t think they are going to be able to play like that this season.
“They missed the chance to win the title last season, because you know in football every season is different, and if you look at the way they went all out for it last season it will be impossible for them to do it again this season.
“That level they were last season was an unbelievable level and look at the way they lost it, with a point difference, so we have to be realistic to ourselves.
“They have great competitors in City, and they've long been a team that has fought so hard for the title, so for me I maintain that Liverpool will not be able to produce that level of performance they did last season.”
While questioning Liverpool’s ability to compete for major honours, Diouf is a big fan of two star turns on the books at Anfield.
Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have become talismanic figures for the Reds, with a man who spent two seasons on Merseyside saying of two fellow African icons: “I think that both Mo and Mane are doing amazing and they are up there flying the flag for Africa.
“The facts are there for everyone to see that at the moment they are two of the best players in the world and their contribution to Liverpool both domestically and continentally cannot be underrated.”