That is the scathing assessment of former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann, who stuck the knife in to Liverpool yesterday and felt happy twisting it.
The club’s players and coaches are acutely aware that while they have been short on confidence and victories so far this year they certainly are not short of opinion about where they are going wrong.
But where some ex-players have trod gently, tackling issues of transfer policy and training methods, Hamann’s intervention was full-blooded, no holds barred and very much two feet off the ground.
“The club needs a reality check,” said Hamann, who spent seven years at Anfield and won eight major pieces of silverware in that time.
“Part of the problem at Liverpool is that, because the club creates so much interest all over the world, people still seem to think that they’re still one of the driving forces in Europe – which they’re not.
Dietmar Hamann believes Liverpool are not one of the top driving forces in Europe
But Hamann was full of praise for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
“That’s the biggest problem: where people within the club – and I include the players – perceive the club to be and where they actually are – because there’s a huge gap.”
Liverpool face second-placed Tottenham at Anfield tomorrow with just one victory in their last 10 matches – a 1-0 win against League Two Plymouth in their FA Cup fourth-round replay. Their last Premier League victory came on New Year’s Eve, a 1-0 win against Manchester City.
“I can’t remember such a period of disappointing results,” said Hamann. “Before Christmas, a lot of people had them down as favourites to win the Premier League. It’s hard to explain the bad run.
“You can lose games, teams have dips in a season. But to have such a period of disappointing results – I can’t recall anytime really in the last God knows how many years where that has happened.
“It’s complacency. Complacency is the biggest issue the club faces at the moment. People believe, ‘we are Liverpool, we are going to be all right’. No, they’re not all right.”
Liverpool training ahead of Tottenham clash
Thu, February 9, 2017
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Hamann is, however, a huge fan of manager Jurgen Klopp calling his compatriot “one of the top managers in Europe” but believes his appointment is a sticking plaster over a gulf between perception and reality.
“This is what the manager is fighting now, to change the mentality not only in the team, but in the whole club,” said Hamann. “Everyone needs to work 100 per cent harder to get Liverpool back to where they were.
“The reason the club still creates interest is because the guys in the 70s and 80s were unbeatable. But that has nothing to do with the current crop of players and what’s happened in the last eight to 10 years.
“If you look at the facts of that period it has been pretty dire.”
Hamann maintains that owners Fenway Sports Group need to support him not only in the transfer market but to make some tough decisions with existing personnel if they are to make best use of his talents.
“Over the last six, seven, eight years there’s been numerous managers there and now with this appointment they have one of the top managers in Europe and he needs support,” said Hamann, speaking on his Paddy Power blog.
“He has changed a few things in a short space of time but if you think only by appointing the manager that things will come good – you’re wrong.
“He has succeeded in changing a few things and now he needs to look at the playing personnel because this set of players has failed on numerous occasions in the last few seasons.
“They were times when this squad had a chance to win a trophy and they lost to Manchester City, Sevilla and Southampton.
“He needs to look hard at the team but there needs to be a thought process throughout the whole club on if they can maximise what’s possible with the players that they’ve got.
“They’ve had some fantastic performances, but if you don’t finish in the top four and you’ve got no trophy to show at the end of it, it’s a disappointing season if you’re Liverpool – full stop.”