Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has changed his opinion of the current Liverpool squad following their 2-0 humbling of the Red Devils in the first-leg of the Europa League last-16 at Anfield on 10 March. The former England midfielder has pinpointed Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana for praise after their performance against Louis van Gaal's side, which sees the Merseyside club one step closer to the quarter finals of the second tier European competition.
Jurgen Klopp's team seem to have got a new lease of life following their Capital One Cup final loss to Manchester City. They seem a different team, as they have since recorded thumping victories over the Etihad Stadium outfit in the Premier League and their arch rivals United in the Europa League. the players seem to have finally embraced the former Borussia Dortmund manager's high-press playing style and are looking good for a strong finish to the season.
Firmino, who joined the Merseyside club in the summer, has been in prolific form since the turn of the year after being given an opportunity to play higher up and through the middle. After struggling during the start of the season, he has now scored seven goals and four assists in his last eight league appearances. Similarly, Lallana has also found form in the recent months and has scored three goals and provided two assists in his last seven league outings.
This form from the duo and Sturridge's return has seen them make up ground on the teams ahead and they are now within touching distance from the clubs fighting for a place in the top four. The Anfield outfit are seven points behind Manchester City in fourth place with a game in hand, and if they continue their current form, Scholes believes they have a chance of finishing in the top four by the end of the campaign.
"I hadn't been sure about Firmino but this last week he has convinced me. He's been brilliant. [Anfield] is the hardest place to come as a United player by a million miles. You can go 90 minutes without touching the ball and still win 1-0. That's the way it is," Scholes said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"If you do that, it is just about acceptable. But when you saw the gulf in quality here, it was just incredible. Look at the forward players Liverpool had: Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge. They've got goals."
"Lallana had a quiet period but he looks like a real player. Before the Liverpool versus Manchester City game, which I worked at, I was thinking, 'Klopp might only keep two or three of these'. But what is he building now? They need to go on from here. They can go on from here. They could even finish in the top four in the Premier League this year if it carries on," the former United midfielder explained.