Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has torn into the Reds following their home defeat to Leeds and believes Jurgen Klopp was well aware of the problems facing his side over the summer.
The Reds gifted Jesse Marsch’s struggling side their first win since mid-August as a late Crysencio Summerville strike stunned Anfield. That came after Mohamed Salah had cancelled out Rodrigo’s early opener. But the truth is, Leeds were good value for the points.
And while Liverpool had their chances – Leeds keeper Illan Meslier was named Man of the Match – it was not enough to prevent their unbeaten home run – stretching back to March 2021 – from ending.
Sadly for Meslier, though, he has not made this cut of top 10 goalkeepers in the Premier League this season.
After the game, Klopp was in no doubt over where his side’s failures lay.
However, the Reds boss did paint some mitigating circumstances for his side. Citing a string of injuries and the fact they are currently playing every three games, the defeat did not exactly come as a surprise to Liverpool.
To their fans, that must come as a concern. Liverpool have been one of the Premier League’s most dominant sides over the past five seasons. Yet defeat on Saturday already leaves them 13 points adrift of Manchester City.
Souness, though, was in no mood to excuse Liverpool. He feels the Reds’ midfield looks well past their sell-by date. And the pundit claims their ageing stars are struggling to keep pace with games.
“Liverpool are a country mile from what they were in the last few years,” Souness told Sky Sports.
“They don’t play with the same intensity. I think in many instances tonight, Leeds were more than a match for what Liverpool have been doing to teams for years.
Graeme Souness names five stars who are struggling at Liverpool
“Liverpool used to bully teams, their midfield bullied teams. And now they’re being bullied.”
“They still had enough chances to win the game, the man-of-the-match is a goalkeeper (Leeds stopper Meslier) – that does tell the story.
“Liverpool are not like the team we have seen for the last five years. They just don’t have the same intensity. They don’t have it in their legs anymore.”
The Scot was not prepared to mince his words, either.
And in a brutal assessment of their midfielders, he continued: “I think when you look at the midfield. Thiago 31, [Jordan] Henderson 31, Fabinho 29. And after that you have [Naby] Keita who is about 27, you have [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain who is out and is injured at 29.”
Graeme Souness also reckons Klopp knew exactly the struggles his side would face in the summer too.
While it was evidentally clear Liverpool needed to sign a new midfielder, they instead spent the bulk of their cash on Darwin Nunez.
And while the Uruguayan has endured mixed reviews – Rio Ferdinand still thinks he will come good – it was painfully clear that Liverpool needed a new midfield signing.
“You have Curtis Jones who is 21 and the other young player who started tonight Harvey Elliot is 19,” Souness continued.
“Go back to start of the season, Jurgen said his midfield felt vulnerable because with the age group and the chances of injuries.
“We know it is a very hard league to play in and it’s a long nine months at times, so to expect the two young guys to come in and take you through most of the season is a big ask.
“I’ve said it since the start of the season. Their midfield they have now is no longer the midfield that is going to win them the big trophies.”
Liverpool need new midfielders
While Leeds United‘s victory comes as a shock to many, the struggles their midfield are having are plain for all to see.
The Whites cut through the Reds far too easily and were too quickly able to overload them with their press. Indeed, quite often Leeds were able to turn defence into attack all too easily. And the ease for which they were able to execute their game-plan will be of a major concern to Klopp.
His side look tired, energy-less and well past their best, especially in midfield.
Truth be told told, they probably need a minimum of two new midfield signings in 2023.
As it stands, they look far a long way off for the Champions League spots, never mind the title. Failure to reach the top four would come as a crushing blow – but would surprise no-one at this stage.
Klopp admits he’s come to a January decision over Arthur already. However, the Brazilian’s fitness issues already prove he’s not the answer.
As such, the need for a January midfield addition has never been more essential than it is right now.
READ MORE: Klopp confirms Liverpool decision on January midfield deal; claims ’embarrassed’ star is primed to become ‘incredible’ weapon
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