Jamie Carragher says Liverpool are “in massive trouble” after their 2-1 defeat at Leeds United, while Graeme Souness believes Jurgen Klopp’s side are now “being bullied” by other teams.
Crysencio Summerville’s 89th-minute strike led to a 2-1 win for Leeds at Anfield, leaving Klopp’s beleaguered side in ninth place and eight points off the top four.
Mohamed Salah had earlier canceled out Rodrigo’s fourth-minute opener following a defensive mix-up between Alisson and Joe Gomez, but Liverpool could not find a way past the outstanding Illan Meslier, who made a record-breaking total of nine saves.
“It’s a massive result for Leeds but Liverpool are in big trouble,” said Carragher Saturday Night Football.
“Leeds fans know how big a result this is. It’s been such a long time since anyone won at Anfield. They will milk it and rightly so. It will do wonders for them, in terms of the league table.
“This is not a slump for Liverpool, this is a serious problem.
“There’s no doubt that in the last 10-15 minutes the keeper has kept Leeds out but if you look at the whole game you can’t say that Leeds didn’t deserve to get any of it. They’ve been fantastic.
“Klopp has to think, what else can I try now? Different permutations, formations, personnel…”
The Liverpool boss would later lament his side’s injury problems this season. “We had problems from day one, that’s obvious,” he said Sky Sports. – In terms of injuries, some players have to play too often, and others come back and have to play too soon.
But the problems go deeper than problems with personnel, according to one of Carragher’s colleagues Sky Sports savvy.
Souness: Liverpool don’t play with the same intensity
Souness believes Liverpool’s aging midfield means they “just don’t have it in their legs anymore” and “don’t play with the same intensity”.
He added: “Liverpool are a mile from where they were in the last few years. In many cases, Leeds were more of a match for Liverpool and they did to Liverpool what they had done to teams for years.
“Liverpool basically bullied teams before, their midfield bullied teams. And now they get bullied. It makes them vulnerable at the back, and they don’t create the same chances up front.
“Liverpool is a shadow [of the team they used to be].
“Liverpool still had enough chances to win the game, but they’re not the Liverpool we’ve seen in the last five years. They don’t play with the same intensity and just don’t have it in their legs anymore.”
How Leeds outworked Liverpool
- Leeds ran a total of 121.4 km to Liverpool’s 110.7 km.
- Leeds made 169 high-intensity sprints to Liverpool’s 154.
- Leeds made 21 tackles to Liverpool’s 17.
Souness was also impressed with Jesse Marsch’s side who came into the game on the back of an eight-match winless streak.
“Leeds were a team that played under pressure. They didn’t play like a young team tonight. They played like a team who really believed in what they were going to do, believed they were going to get a result,” Souness said.
“You could say it’s a lucky first goal, but that mistake is not why Liverpool lost the game.
“If correct [Leeds ran 11km more than Liverpool], then to a man they ran a kilometer more than Liverpool. It’s a big difference.
“And if you look at a midfield of Thiago, 31, Henderson, 31, Fabinho, 29, then after that you have Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones who is 21 and Harvey Elliot who is 19.
“If you go back to the beginning of the season, Jurgen [Klopp] must have looked at his midfield and thought: ‘We’re vulnerable here’.
“I feel their midfield is no longer a midfield that will get them back and win the big trophies.”
Analysis: Liverpool’s soft center exposed
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
Liverpool’s Champions League match with Ajax had provided some respite, the 3-0 win securing their place in the round of 16. But back at Anfield three days later, all the problems that have dogged their domestic campaign returned.
This was the eighth time in 12 Premier League games they had conceded the first goal and on this occasion it took just four minutes, Joe Gomez’s wayward back pass catching Alisson Becker out of position and allowing Leeds forward Rodrigo to score.
Liverpool’s dismal start in the statistics
- With 16 points from 12 games, Liverpool is nine points worse than at the same stage last season.
- Only Southampton (nine) have conceded the first goal in more Premier League games than Liverpool (eight) this season.
- Liverpool have already lost twice as many Premier League games as they did in the whole of the last campaign.
- Defeat against Leeds ended a 29-game Premier League unbeaten run at Anfield.
Liverpool hit back and peppered the Leeds goal with shots after Mohamed Salah had drawn them level, but Crysencio Summerville’s late strike won it in the end, the early mix-up between Gomez and Alisson setting the tone for another bewilderingly meek defensive performance.
Gomez was poor and at fault for the opener just a week after his error allowed Nottingham Forest to score their winner at the City Ground, but he was not alone. Virgil van Dijk, alongside him in central defence, once again looked like a player who has lost his aura.
The Dutchman failed to close out Summerville for the winner and others were found wanting in that game. “You can’t defend like we defended around the second goal,” Klopp said. “But we did and I don’t know how to explain it now.”
It is similarly difficult to explain what is happening in midfield, where Fabinho, so impressive for so long under Klopp, once again struggled hard. So bad, in fact, that he was withdrawn after just an hour.
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness spoke of Liverpool being “bullied” while Klopp lamented an inability to control games. All the problems stem from the middle, where the core of a once great side looks to be getting weaker and weaker by the game.
Liverpool’s upcoming matches
Tuesday, November 1
Liverpool vs Napoli – Champions League, kick-off 20.00
Sunday, November 6
Spurs vs Liverpool – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
Wednesday, November 9
Liverpool vs Derby County – Carabao Cup, kick-off 8pm
Saturday, November 12
Liverpool vs Southampton – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
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