After Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Leeds United last night, the latest in a series of disappointing results for this season’s Reds, we were treated to another round of pundits dissecting what is wrong with Jürgen Klopp’s side. The answer is neither simple nor short, and it can be hard to distill their numerous problems into a brief assessment during a post-game panel.
While many pundits’ attempts to do so can leave much to be desired, it’s hard to find anything to quibble with in Graeme Souness’s take from last night. The former Liverpool player and manager pointed to LFC’s inability to impose their will on their opponents like they have done for so much of Klopp’s tenure.
“Liverpool are a country mile from where they were over the last few years,” Souness said on Sky Sports after the loss to Leeds. “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.”
The Reds have played an absurd amount of football over the past few years, and it seems to really be showing this season. Injuries are piling up, and even the players who are healthy just don’t look to have the energy or drive to dominate games like they have in the past. It feels like every match is a struggle to field 11 players that aren’t completely gassed.
“Liverpool still had enough chances to win the game, but they are not like the Liverpool we’ve seen for the last five years,” said Souness. “They don’t play with the same intensity and just don’t have it in their legs anymore.”
It’s hardly a surprise that these players looked exhausted. They played every possible match last season, had a shortened off-season, and have been forced to play twice a week for almost the entirety of the first three months of this season. The World Cup break truly can’t come soon enough.