Liverpool have ‘massive problems’ after Leeds United defeat, says Jamie Carragher | Graeme Souness: They’re getting bullied
Jamie Carragher says Liverpool “have massive problems” after their 2-1 defeat to Leeds United, while Graeme Souness believes Jurgen Klopp’s side are now “getting bullied” by other teams.
Crysencio Summerville’s 89th-minute strike clinched 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 cancelled 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-equalling total of nine saves.
“It’s a huge result for Leeds but Liverpool have got massive problems,” said Carragher on Saturday Night Football.
“Leeds’ fans know how big a result this is. It’s so long since anyone’s won at Anfield. They’re going to milk it and rightly so. It will do wonders for them, in terms of the league table.
“This isn’t a blip for Liverpool, this is a serious problem.
“There’s no doubt that the goalkeeper in the last 10-15 minutes has kept Leeds in it but if you look at the whole game you can’t say Leeds haven’t deserved to get something from it. They’ve been fantastic.
“Klopp must be thinking, what else can I try now? Different permutations, formations, personnel…”
The Liverpool boss would later bemoan his side’s injury problems this season. “We had problems from the first day, that’s obvious,” he told Sky Sports. “Injury wise, some players have to play then too often, and others come back and have to play too early.”
But the issues run deeper than issues with personnel, according to one of Carragher’s fellow Sky Sports pundits.
Souness: Liverpool don’t play with the same intensity
Souness believes Liverpool’s ageing 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 country mile from where they were over the last few years. In many instances, Leeds were more than a match for Liverpool and they did to Liverpool what they had been doing to teams for years.
“Liverpool basically bullied teams before, their midfield bullied teams. And now they’re being bullied. That’s making them vulnerable at the back, and they’re not creating the same chances up front.
“Liverpool are a shadow [of the team they used to be].
“Liverpool still had enough chances to win the game, but they are not like the Liverpool we’ve seen for the last five years. They don’t play with the same intensity and just don’t have it in their legs anymore.”
Souness was also impressed by Jesse Marsch’s team who came into the game having not won in eight games.
“Leeds were a team playing under pressure. They didn’t play like a young team tonight. They played like a team that really believed in what they were going to do, believed they were going to get a result,” Souness said.
“You can say it’s a lucky first goal, but that mistake is not the reason Liverpool lost the game.
“If correct [Leeds ran 11km more than Liverpool], then to a man they ran a kilometre more than Liverpool. That’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’s 19.
“If you go back to the start 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 is going to get them back and win the big trophies.”
Analysis: Liverpool’s soft centre exposed
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Ajax had provided some respite, the 3-0 win securing their place in the last 16. But back at Anfield three days later, all the problems that have dogged their domestic campaign came rushing back.
This was the eighth time in 12 Premier League games they have conceded the first goal and on this occasion it took only four minutes, Joe Gomez’s wayward backpass catching Alisson Becker out of position and allowing Leeds forward Rodrigo to score.
Liverpool fought back, peppering the Leeds goal with shots after Mohamed Salah had brought them level, but Crysencio Summerville’s late strike eventually won it, that early mix-up between Gomez and Alisson setting the tone for another bewilderingly meek defensive performance.
Gomez was poor, at fault for the opener only 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, again looked like a player who has lost his aura.
The Dutchman failed to close down Summerville for the winner and others were found wanting in that passage of play too. “You cannot defend like we defended around the second goal,” said Klopp. “But we did and I’m not sure how to explain that now.”
It is similarly difficult to explain what is happening in midfield, where Fabinho, so imperious for so long under Klopp, again struggled badly. So badly, in fact, that he was withdrawn after only an hour.
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness spoke of Liverpool being “bullied” while Klopp bemoaned an inability to control games. All of the problems stem from the centre, where the core of a once great side appears to be growing weaker by the game.
Trent: We need to regroup and reset after WC
Trent Alexander-Arnold says Liverpool could benefit from the mid-season break during the World Cup, admitting “something’s not going right”.
Manager Klopp said prior to the Leeds defeat that he expects to see a different Liverpool following the tournament in Qatar and his right-back appears to agree with him.
“I think it’s important for us to regroup, assess what’s going wrong,” he told the Liverpool website. “I think right now, it’s kind of, ‘pick up as many points as you can now going into this break (for the World Cup, which starts on November 20).’
“And potentially this break will come at a decent time for us to reset and be able to get our heads straight to go into the second half of the season.”
Alexander-Arnold added: “I’d say we all believe in ourselves, we believe in the way we play, the squad and what we can achieve.
“But I think when you do get setbacks, it can potentially make you second-guess yourself and question things.
“Clearly as a team something’s not going right, it’s not going as well as we want it to go. That’s something for everyone to think about, for everyone to address and make sure we put it right, especially next week against Spurs, top-four rivals.
“We kind of need to go there and get some points if we’ve got any chance of reaching our aims and aspirations for the season.”
Liverpool’s upcoming fixtures
Tuesday November 1
Liverpool vs Napoli – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
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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