LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 20, 2021: Liverpool players line-up during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 238th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool a “shadow of a team” that “everyone wants to play against”

Graeme Souness has labelled Liverpool as “an easy touch” following their 2-0 defeat to Everton, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side now “a shadow of a team” in the eyes of the ex-Red.

In football’s new landscape amid the global pandemic, the Reds have struggled to find rhythm and form and are a long way away from the team who thundered to the title last season.

In fact, since the restart last June, the Reds have lost 11 games and drawn 10 of their 45 fixtures in all competitions – which includes four defeats from their last five games.

Injury has decimated the squad and left Klopp to pick up the pieces as best he can, triggering a devastating domino effect that leaves Liverpool battling for a top-four spot.

Many have looked to delve into the issues plaguing the Reds and former manager and player Souness surmised it as one which exposed a soft underbelly that all teams are now eager to exploit with the fear factor diminished.

“As a Liverpool supporter, I am deeply disappointed with my team,” Souness told Sky Sports after the first derby defeat at Anfield since 1999.

Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara and team-mates appear dejected (Laurence Griffiths / PA Media)

“It didn’t look like they had any energy or any fight or any real aggression about them. The best team got the points today.

“The first 10 minutes, I expected a reaction and at half-time and I think we got that kicking into the Kop which you always expect, an empty Kop.

“But after 10 minutes that faded as well. I think there’s no Liverpool player that can come off that pitch tonight and think ‘I’ve had a good game tonight’.

“They’re a shadow of a team. When you think what Liverpool have been for three years – a team that no one wants to play against, a team that were always on the front foot, super-aggressive, must have been horrible to play against them.

“And now everyone wants to play against them. They’re an easy touch and that hurts me.”

It’s certainly a fair statement that teams are no longer riddled with fear when facing the champions and instead fancy their chances of getting a result.

There are, of course, mitigating factors but it doesn’t take away from continual poor performances and the Reds need a response and fast if they are to salvage anything from 2020/21.

Klopp and Co. will be as eager as anyone to turn it around, as Gini Wijnaldum‘s message to Reds showed, but they may need to mix it up to do so, and fast.