Alan Shearer believes Liverpool's improvement has stalled under Jurgen Klopp, suggesting the German escapes scrutiny from the press because of his demeanour.
The former Borussia Dortmund manager celebrated two years in charge of Liverpool on Sunday (8 October), during which Klopp has taken the Reds to the final of the League Cup and of the Europa League only to lose both, before guiding the team back to the Champions League after a two-season hiatus.
However, ahead of their clash with Manchester United at lunchtime on Saturday, Shearer suggested Liverpool's title bid could be effectively all over by mid-October if the five-time European Cup winners fail to beat their arch-rivals.
"Too much under Klopp seems to be based on that call for passion and excitement but the way they play isn't going to win them the league," Shearer wrote in his column in the Sun .
"Defeat [on Sunday] will leave them ten points behind Jose Mourinho's men and effectively end Liverpool's title challenge before the clocks have changed."
While Liverpool have developed into a potent attacking threat since Klopp's arrival, their back four has come under intense criticism for a series of mistakes that have cost the team points. The Merseysiders have already conceded 12 goals in their first seven Premier League games, as many as Watford, Leicester and Everton, while only West Ham and bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace have conceded more.
Away from the Premier League, Klopp's men have drawn their first two games in the Champions League and have been knocked out by Leicester in the Carabao Cup after losing 2-0 at the King Power Stadium last month.
"Really they [Liverpool] have not improved since the day he [Klopp] took over," Shearer added.
"He has a win rate of 49.5%, which is less than Brendan Rodgers and also less than David Moyes when United sacked him."
Ahead of kick-off on Saturday, Liverpool will unveil their new stand, named after their former manager and player Kenny Dalglish. The Scotsman guided Liverpool to three league titles and two FA Cups between 1985 and 1991, before winning the League Cup in 2012 during his spell at the club.
While that was Liverpool's first trophy in six years, the Reds have not lifted another piece of silverware since. According to Shearer, that suggests the 18-time title winners have "lost their place at the top table of football" in recent years.
"It [the unveiling of the Kenny Dalglish Stand ] will leave many Liverpool fans misty-eyed for a time when they ruled football at home and abroad," he said.
"A time when they truly were the greatest. Right now the glory days he enjoyed at Anfield are as far away as ever."