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Gary Neville warns Jurgen Klopp that defending the Premier League will be his toughest challenge yet

Gary Neville claimed Liverpool cannot be deemed a ‘really great team’ until they develop a consistent track record of winning top titles over several years.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have run away with the Premier League title this season and clinched the top-flight title with seven games to play back in June. 

And while former Manchester United defender was quick to praise the Reds for their achievements this season, Neville claims they have a long way to go to match standards set by the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Neville told Sky Sports: ‘What Liverpool have done in the last three seasons is started to create an era.

‘Getting to the Champions League final, winning a Champions League, winning a league, they are in the midst of something here.

‘What Jurgen Klopp has done at Liverpool has been simply outstanding, he hasn’t had the resources of Pep Guardiola, the resources of the Manchester United managers over the past seven years but, with laser focus and precision-based recruitment, he’s developed a great team.

‘If Liverpool can win the league again next year, get to another Champions League final or do a domestic double, that is when we’ll be starting to talk about really great side.’ 

Liverpool have snatched the Premier League title away from rivals Manchester City, who had won the previous two editions of the English top-flight.

Guardiola’s rampant City team aside, no team has managed to win back-to-back Premier League titles since Ferguson guided Manchester United to consecutive league honours in 2008 and 2009. 

The now-retired Manchester United boss is the ultimate target that Klopp needs to reach in order to be named one of the greatest Premier League sides of all time, according to Neville.

The Sky Sports poundit added: ‘Manchester United had won back-to-back titles and a double in 1993/94 so the standards and scene had been set. That mentality was normal for the club, it had already been set by the time I got there.

‘What Sir Alex Ferguson was able to do at Manchester United was create a great side that won over three or four-year periods and then remodelled and adapted it to be able to win again for the next three or four-year period.

‘Sir Alex continually did that over a period of 20 years, that was obviously the genius of the man and why he will be regarded as the greatest manager.  

‘There are many teams, players, athletes that have had one-off success and titles, and they are great achievements in their own right, but when you continually do it over a period of time is when you establish greatness. 

‘We talk about talent, skill and great players, but when you get to the end of your career you want to look back at sustained success and that you demonstrated consistency and reliability to play well every single year as a team and as an individual.’

Next season, Liverpool will be expected to shake of Guardiola’s City once again whilst defending their crown, though Chelsea and Manchester United are showing signs they could make strong efforts to challenge for the title.

Neville believes Klopp’s competences as a top-class manager will be tested when the defending champion tag is associated with the Reds next season.

He continued: ‘Klopp is going to have to whip that horse a little bit harder next season to let them know they cannot drop by two or three per cent because City and other clubs will be back at them again. 

‘City have shown them the standard, Liverpool have got there, now they have to maintain it.’

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