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Liverpool: Jamie Carragher and Graeme Souness shocked by slump
- Updated: January 22, 2021
Liverpool beaten 1-0 by Burnley; Premier League champions suffer first home league defeat in four years; Souness: ‘Some players look shot’; Carragher: ‘f the next run of games do not go well then I have no doubt they will be well out of the title race by the middle of February’
Sky Sports pundits Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher have expressed their alarm at Liverpool’s slump in form with Carragher warning the reigning Premier League champions could finish out of the top four.
Jurgen Klopp’s side suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Burnley on Thursday night, their first loss at Anfield in the league in almost four years.
“I cannot remember a time with so many players out of form at the same time,” said Carragher.
After facing Manchester United in the FA Cup this weekend, Liverpool’s next league fixtures are Tottenham (a), West Ham (a), Brighton (h), Man City (h), and Leicester (a).
“If the next run of games do not go well then I have no doubt they will be well out of the title race by the middle of February, the end of February,” said Carragher. “If that happens then Liverpool will be fighting for their lives to be in the Champions League next season.”
And former Liverpool captain and manager Souness added: “Jurgen has some hard thinking to do. Some of those players look like they are shot. There is no sparkle about them.
“This will be a real test for these players. Jurgen will now find out what he has in the dressing room.”
Carragher: Belief has drained away
Since scoring seven times at Crystal Palace, Liverpool have netted just once in the last five games and none at all in their most recent three fixtures.
And Carragher fears belief has drained out of the Premier League champions.
“They start nice and bright and you think it is something to build on but they just seem to lose belief and confidence so quickly that they can actually score a goal. It is almost as if they feel they need to score in the first half an hour,” he said.
“Normally, the great teams, and this Liverpool team over the last few years, score a lot of late goals but it feels like the belief completely goes. As the clock ticks closer and closer to 90 minutes the belief goes and you cannot see how Liverpool can score really.
“I cannot remember a time with so many players out of form at the same time.
“Think of the front three and the full-backs in terms of providing quality and assists, things we have seen so often. All five of them are nowhere near their best. It is not just scoring but it is general play.
“Mo Salah comes on and is one on one against the left-back three or four times and just runs straight at him. Firmino’s chance when he comes on. It felt like Alexander-Arnold put so many crosses in and never found someone.
“I think Liverpool supporters will be massively frustrated. This team have done something for this club that nobody has done for so long – brought a title back. They will always be legends in everyone’s eyes.
“But for whatever reason in these last four or five games it has not just dropped off but massively dropped. It is a huge worry going forward. Not just in terms of the title but in terms of the top four.
“If the next run of games do not go well then I have no doubt they will be well out of the title race by the middle of February, the end of February. If that happens then Liverpool will be fighting for their lives to be in the Champions League next season.”
Souness: Liverpool not the same team
For Souness, however, the concern isn’t Liverpool’s most recent form but their form in general for the past few months.
“You don’t need me to tell you that they are not the same team as they were last year,” Souness summarised.
“This has been coming, Liverpool have been a shadow of the team we’ve seen for the best part of three years. There wasn’t any sparkle tonight, they were flat when they got the ball into the final third and when the time came to deliver, delivery was poor time and time again. They lacked quality all the way through.”
“There is so much expectation on their shadows because of what they have done in the last couple of seasons – European champions, Premier League champions. The expectation levels are there and on their shoulders. It was at the start of the season and they have not dealt with it very well.
“That’s what makes you a special team. It’s hard enough to win it. But to retain it and stay there, year in and year out, that’s what makes you a special team and right now this Liverpool team are not up for that challenge.”
For Liverpool, it’s another showdown with Manchester United on Sunday when they meet in the FA Cup at Old Trafford. Their next Premier League outing is a trip to Tottenham on Thursday; kick-off 8pm.
It’s also an all-Premier League tie for Burnley in the FA Cup this weekend, travelling to Fulham on Sunday. They will then welcome Aston Villa in the league on Wednesday; kick-off 6pm.