Liverpool are ‘playing with a handbrake’ on in big games, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand says

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes nerves are creeping into Liverpool’s game when they take part in the big matches, as they look to end a 29-year wait for the title by winning the Premier League this season.

The Red Devils themselves went through a barren spell of 26 years without a title themselves, before eventually ending their hoodoo in 1993.

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Jurgen Klopp’s side were 10 points clear of champions Manchester City after 20 games, but now trail their title rivals by a point

While Jurgen Klopp’s men have overcome the recent challenges of Burnley and Watford with relative ease, they have drawn a blank against Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Everton – with all three games ending in a stalemate.

The BT Sport pundit is of the opinion the Anfield side are “playing with a handbrake” on during the big games, and stressed just how vital it is for Liverpool to grasp the opportunity they have to win the league this year.

Ferdinand, a six-time Premier League winner after a trophy-laden 12-year spell at Old Trafford, told talkSPORT: “Manchester United’s first trophy after 26 years was a huge turning point for the club.

“When I was at United we won the Champions League in 2008. Before that it was nearly a decade since we had last won it [1999] – it was such a long wait.

“That was resting on our mind for a while, and I’m sure it is with Liverpool. They’ve been great this season but they need to take advantage of this opportunity – they don’t come around all the time.

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Rio Ferdinand spoke exclusively to talkSPORT on a range of topics

“What I’ve been seeing from Liverpool in the big matches is a bit of nervousness creep into their game – they’re playing with a handbrake on at times.

“They’re playing a little bit uptight, and it’s understandable because they’ve not won anything for years.”

He continued: “What has excited everyone about this Liverpool team under [Jurgen] Klopp is the freedom they play with, and at the moment it’s a bit too stop start for my liking.

“The Premier League is the hardest title to win, at United we were fortunate to win as many times as we did during my spell there.

“You’re competing against some of the biggest and best teams in world football at the end of the day.”

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The former England defender won six Premier League titles with Manchester United

Elsewhere, the former England defender believes last year’s Champions League finalists have a “decent chance” of winning this year’s competition, expecting them to get the job done against Bayern Munich in their last-16 second-leg tie on Wednesday night.

“I think Liverpool will be the happier of the two teams going into this leg,” Ferdinand added.

“Bayern are going through a transition phase and their best players are still [Arjen] Robben and [Franck] Ribery.

“They aren’t the side they once were, so I’d be very surprised if Liverpool didn’t go through.

“If they get an away goal they can shut up shop, so I’m pretty sure they’ll go through.

“You look at the experience they had last year and I’m sure that will stand them in good stead this time around.

“If they don’t pick up any injuries I think they’ll have a decent chance of winning it.”

Jim Proudfoot & Ray Houghton will talk you through the Reds’ pivotal clash in Munich on Wednesday night, which is LIVE on talkSPORT.

BT Sport brings you the moments that matter this season, with exclusively live coverage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Watch live on TV and via the award winning BT Sport App. For more info visit bt.com/sport

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