JOSE REINA believes Liverpool have got to be braver this season if they want to win the title. The Spanish goalkeeper has reacted to criticism of the team, who have already lost twice this term after just four matches, equalling the number of games they lost throughout last season.
That statistic is already being used to underline a belief that Liverpool are up against it if they want to win the Premier League.
But Reina believes the 11 games they drew last term, in which boss Rafael Benitez was frequently accused of being over-cautious in his tactics, ultimately lost Liverpool the title.
Now Reina says: “People say we have lost as many games this season as we did in the whole of last season. But last season our biggest problem was drawing games. Those draws meant that we could have drawn the two games that we lost, gone unbeaten in the league all season, but still not won it. I would rather have lost six of those 11 games and won the other five. Then we would have finished level on points with Manchester United and maybe have won it on goal difference.
“People can point to defeats, but I feel it’s draws that make it more difficult.”
He added: “One thing that became clear to everyone at the club before this season started was that we must take more risks if we want to win the league. Even if it means losing a few more games, particularly at home.
“In the short-term that may disappoint a few people but in the long term, it’s better to cut out the draws.
“In a league where there is three points for a win, for teams trying to win the title, it’s definitely draws that make it more difficult.”
Reina’s view on Liverpool’s campaign comes with Reds legend John Barnes claiming that it is “ridiculous” to dismiss the Anfield club’s title chances less than three weeks into the new season.
Barnes, now manager of neighbours Tranmere, said: “It’s ridiculous to write off Liverpool. Look at the start Manchester United had last season and they went on to win it.
“The Liverpool players and fans should have a belief that they can be competitive and can go all the way.
“They went very close last season, and although that doesn’t mean they’re going to do it this year, it will give them belief that they can win it – regardless of the start they’ve had.”
He added: “Maybe two years ago a start like this would have knocked Liverpool, but they now have real belief.
“If they stick together, have the right spirit, desire and discipline – as they do – and a togetherness, then they’ll be there come the end of the season.”
Meanwhile, Dutch international Ryan Babel believes a loan spell at Ajax in the second half of the season will help his chances of playing in the World Cup finals next summer.
The winger was initially axed from the Holland squad ahead of the weekend game with Japan and next week’s World Cup qualifier with Scotland, but recalled this week due to injuries.
He said: “I was told (by Liverpool) I would play more minutes and have more chances, but after the first defeat I lost my place.
“I think half a season at Ajax with a view to the World Cup would not be a bad idea.”
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