After Liverpool’s awful collapse in the 3-1 loss at Leicester, the media criticised the Reds for being their own worst enemies and mentally weak.
The Reds crumbled to a sixth Premier League loss of the campaign, paying the price for a shocking defensive implosion.
It just goes from worse to even worse for Jurgen Klopp and his players, and most worrying is that there is no end in sight with almost a full starting XI injured and confidence shot to pieces.
Here is all the key analysis from the media on a damaging defeat for Liverpool’s top-four hopes.
The collapse was pinned on Liverpool’s psychological regression to “mentality mice” from mentality monsters…
Paul Gorst, of the Liverpool Echo, laid into the Reds for an “embarrassing” collapse, stating that VAR, injuries and a patched-up defence cannot be used as an excuse for caving in that way:
But all that does little to excuse just how spectacularly Liverpool lost their way here at the King Power.
And while there may be some legitimate gripes over the ongoing nonsense that surrounds just what exactly offside is in the modern game, the manner of how they caved in following Leicester’s equaliser was embarrassing.
Another brutal assessment came from Ian Doyle, also of the Echo, who bemoaned how easily the “mentality mice” ‘crumble’ when the going gets tough:
So much for the mentality monsters. The Reds have become mentality mice, crumbling horribly at the first sign of a setback.
Similarly, the Independent’s Melissa Reddy was critical of how Liverpool have developed a habit of self-destructing and the way the Reds descend into chaos so easily:
Even when they are good, the switch to dysfunctional is rapid.
Liverpool top the injury table and are also at the summit for errors leading to goals. All the hallmarks of the team from a playing style and mentally point of view have faded to the point where a really positive display needs very little to swing into a shambles. See Manchester City at Anfield last week and now Leicester away.
The Mirror’s Freddie Keighley commented on how the belief has “seeped out” of the Liverpool and is displayed by the Reds never looking like mounting a comeback once behind:
Last season’s ‘mentality monsters’ now look vulnerable and the belief seeped out of the Reds as Jamie Vardy walked the ball in to give Leicester the lead.
Crucially, Liverpool never seem likely to hit back in the closing stages as they did so often over the last two seasons.
The BBC’s Phil McNulty saw an “unrecognisable” lack of fighting spirit in the group through the Reds’ body language after conceding:
Jurgen Klopp‘s side are unrecognisable from the overpowering combination of talent and concrete-clad self-belief that swept aside all challengers last season to win their first title in 30 years.
The visitors’ slumped body language once they had conceded spoke volumes […]
ESPN’s James Olley attributed the implosion to Liverpool’s complete loss of confidence, which is resulting in uncharacteristic and extremely costly errors:
There is a reason why Jurgen Klopp regretted publicly doubting Liverpool’s confidence: it is completely shot.
Nothing else can adequately explain the seven-minute capitulation against Leicester City which saw the Reds surrender a 1-0 lead to lose 3-1 at the King Power Stadium and leave them facing a major fight to finish in the top four.
The media feel the Reds have also become “their own worst enemies” in further compounding matters…
It was Reddy who wrote that Liverpool must stop being “their own enemies” with avoidable errors when so much is already going against them:
The injuries are not letting up, neither is the misfortunate and the poor decision-making heightening their mess.
It’s crowded in the battle for top four and Liverpool can no longer afford to be their own enemies with so much already against them.
Following that, Neil Jones, writing for Goal, bemoaned the defensive errors once again derailing what was a positive performance as this only further drains confidence levels:
What on earth is happening to his team?
They had looked decent for the most part, too. They’d pressed well, created opportunities and fashioned a superb goal for themselves. They’d done the hard bit but, as against City last week, they finished the game dreadfully and paid the price, conceding three times in the blink of an eye.
Olley explained how Alisson’s recent errors epitomise how the Reds have lost the “assurance” and “poise” that defined the near-perfection of the last three seasons:
But Liverpool’s problems run deeper, having morphed from physical issues to mental ones.
The Alisson error was an abdication of the assurance with which he — and Liverpool — have played for the last couple of years. Rediscovering that poise is Klopp’s biggest challenge now as the damage inflicted gets worse.
Meanwhile, Reddy did sympathise with Klopp and his players for the way so many factors have gone against this all-conquering Reds team, which has really given them no chance:
The Liverpool that conquered Europe and then stormed the league last season are no more, decimated by severe key injuries, mentally and physically fatigued from having to absorb blow after blow.
Certain reporters felt Liverpool’s midfield were far from blameless in the defensive implosion…
Karl Matchett, writing for the Independent, believes the midfield must provide better defensive protection to the back-four and assessed Curtis Jones’ withdrawal as the moment the Reds lost their grip:
Forget just names at the back, Klopp has to get his team back to knowing how to defend as a unit.
Then, after taking the lead and subbing off Curtis Jones, it quickly fell apart: a silly foul, no organisation, no communication, three goals conceded.
McNulty, not for the first time this season, pointed the finger at Thiago for a poor performance, stating that the No.6 “must be doing better”:
Of course, Liverpool will cite their lengthy injury list but the players currently in action must be doing better, with Thiago Alcantara, on as substitute for the injured James Milner, badly off the pace and losing possession on countless occasions.
And Matchett explained how one key difference was the defensive protection provided in midfield, with Leicester’s “barrier”, Wilfrid Ndidi, producing everything the Reds needed:
Foremost among their leaders was holding midfielder Wilfrid Ndidi, excellent throughout both in ball-winning on the deck and aerial dominance in the air.
The 24-year-old was an absolute barrier that Liverpool struggled to get past with regularity and his use of the ball was almost equally as impressive as his near-perfect defensive display. The Reds could have used his talents and efficiency at breaking up play in the final quarter of an hour.
Members of the media are struggling to see a way out of this on-going crisis for Liverpool…
The Telegraph’s Sam Wallace is one of those who just can’t see a way out for Klopp’s side while injuries continue to be so ruinous:
They are ten points off Manchester City now having played two games more, and with every game, the vulnerability in defence seems to be more pronounced.
The Mail’s Mark Draper believes a full rebuild is required in order for the Reds to progress:
The impregnable, all conquering red machine of the past two seasons is no more and requires a rebuild.
Doyle thinks Liverpool are no longer fighting for a place in the top four but rather just that coveted fourth place, with the Reds not good enough to finish any higher:
And, while 14 games remain, few would back the Reds to overturn the six-point gap that has now opened up to Leicester City. Fourth, you suspect, is now the remaining target.