Liverpool should forget about Europe and focus on EPL: Gary Neville
Neville says Reds' best chance of winning the EPL is if they exit the Champions League
Former Manchester United stalwart Gary Neville believes Liverpool should forget about Champions League glory and focus their efforts on winning the English Premier League.
The Reds have not won the league for 29 years and on Sunday ceded the advantage in the title race to champions Manchester City after they drew the Merseyside Derby against Everton 0-0.
Liverpool are now second in the EPL, one point behind leaders City.
Juergen Klopp's side lost to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last season and will play Bayern Munich in the second leg of their last-16 clash next week, with the tie finely poised at 0-0 after the first leg.
Neville said on Sky Sports: "Getting points on the board is a big advantage.
"I always thought that if Liverpool could win the league this season, then they'd need a clean fixture list.
"I'm going to say it: Go out against Bayern Munich. That sounds like madness.
"Of course, you'd never play to lose a game but it will be in Liverpool's favour if they have a clean run as they can get everyone fresh.
"City have got a couple of FA Cup games where Liverpool could go five or six points in front.
"That's tough to pull back in the closing weeks.
"This title race is still 50-50."
This is not the first time Neville has suggested the Reds should abandon their Champions League aspirations.
Even before their European campaign kicked off, the former England fullback told The Times last September: "The Champions League - if I were Liverpool, I would kick it into touch.
"I know that's very hard to do, but if they could go into February, March, April without it, they could have a real chance if they had free weeks."
Neville is not the only pundit who has suggested the Reds prioritise the EPL over Europe.
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson said on Sky Sports in January: "Get out of that (the Champions League), get out of it… get out, make history.
"This club hasn't won the league in 29 years, get out of it, win the league."
He yesterday added on Sky Sports that Klopp's demeanour at press conferences and his substitutions during matches are signs that he is "panicking" during squeaky-bum time.
Former Reds striker Michael Owen, however, still believes Liverpool can win the league.
He told Goal.com: "Manchester City have a more difficult finish...
"Liverpool have easier teams. All their difficult games are at Anfield, against Chelsea and Tottenham (Hotspur).
"I think now, even though Manchester City have the advantage in points and goal difference, Liverpool now have the advantage in the games coming up. It's going to be close."
LIVERPOOL'S REMAINING EPL FIXTURES
- Burnley (home), Sunday
- Fulham (away), March 17
- Tottenham (home), March 31
- Southampton (away), April 6
- Chelsea (home), April 14
- Cardiff (away), April 21
- Huddersfield (home), April 27
- Newcastle (away), May 4
- Wolves (home), May 12
MAN CITY'S REMAINING EPL FIXTURES
- Watford (home), Sunday
- Fulham (away), March 30
- Cardiff (home), April 6
- Palace (away), April 14
- Tottenham (home), April 20
- Man United (away), April 25
- Burnley (away), April 28
- Leicester (home), May 4
- Brighton (away), May 12