The watching media bemoaned a shocking Liverpool performance that was “nowhere near enough” in their 2-1 defeat away to Man United on Monday.
Jurgen Klopp‘s team were outplayed by a United team that has been heavily criticised in recent weeks, leaving them without a win in their first three matches.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford scored in either half, while Mohamed Salah‘s effort proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
Here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool’s defeat, on what was a depressing evening at Old Trafford.
Some assessed a curiously lifeless performance…
This Is Anfield‘s Mark Delgado is concerned by Liverpool’s slow starts:
“That’s now seven in a row going behind first in the Premier League. Jurgen didn’t appreciate hearing it last week, but it’s another game later and another game added to the list – all three this season.
“We had no shots before United scored their first, no shots on target before either of their goals and very little in the way of scoring chances created afterwards.
“It’s actually fair to say that the closest we came before Mo Salah‘s late header was United, twice, almost scoring own goals: Bruno Fernandes against Lisandro Martinez on the line, then Martinez saved by David de Gea.
“We’re not aggressive, fast-paced, energetic from the front or linking play well enough on the deck. Playing for the last 15 minutes of each half is nowhere, nowhere, nowhere near enough.”
“On a sobering evening at Old Trafford, their fury was directed at each other, Virgil van Dijk and James Milner’s constant bickering symptomatic of a disjointed performance and poor start to the season.
“The heart of this Liverpool team is malfunctioning. Klopp must quickly find a fix to prevent this season’s domestic ambitions being rapidly revised.
“Maybe the post-Sadio Mane world is bleaker than first imagined. Perhaps their indifferent form can, as Klopp suggests, be attributed to a ‘witch’s curse’ injuring key players.
“Then there are the chronic slow starts – conceding the first goal in seven consecutive Premier League games – which are not sustainable.”
Others focused on poor individuals against United…
“What’s wrong with Liverpool’s rock? The Dutchman just hasn’t looked himself so far this season, as evidenced against Fulham‘s Aleksandar Mitrovic on the opening weekend, and this was another worrying evening.
“His refusal to close down Sancho for United’s opener was strange, and led to some furious words exchanged with James Milner. Van Dijk was also caught on his heels by Anthony Martial for the second goal, albeit from a wayward touch from Jordan Henderson.
“With their defensive lynchpin struggling, Liverpool are struggling. They need the old Van Dijk back, and quick.”
Delgado felt Jordan Henderson flopped in the No.6 role:
“It cannot be said to have worked in the slightest, given the midfield as a whole was mostly anonymous for 30 minutes, but Henderson was certainly bypassed a lot in those opening stages with through balls and more aggression from the hosts.
“As for the second goal, the captain had an absolute horror. Terrible first touch, a missed tackle, another bite at intercepting which failed and then a stroll back as Marcus Rashford ran through to bury it.
“He was hooked within minutes afterwards.”
“The manager showed a preference for the functional and selecting the 36-year-old Milner instead of Fabinho, a natural whose legs were nearly a decade younger, was a head-scratcher.”
Surely more business must be done?
The Echo‘s Ian Doyle believes another midfielder has to come in:
“Klopp has been quite happy to insist there will be no further business. His understanding of the club’s finances and transfer policy has, of course, served him extremely well during seven success-laden years at Anfield.
“But there comes a point where something needs to be done. And that moment was perhaps reached when Naby Keita once again withdrew with another injury, clearly disrupting a gameplan that had been worked on for the best part of a week.
“Another game saw another makeshift midfield. Questions may be asked over Fabinho being benched but the Brazilian has been poor in recent weeks, so it was hardly the most surprising call. However, the engine room malfunctioned badly and gave United the impetus they needed to gain an early lead they didn’t relinquish, despite Liverpool dominating possession and shots at goal.”
Jones echoed that sentiment:
“It looks unlikely, but Liverpool really could do with a new signing before the transfer window closes.
“Liverpool should, if nothing else, be examining the options open to them. Klopp says they’ll only move if the right player is available, but there are ways to make ‘the right player’ available – and they usually include money, and plenty of it.
“In January, Liverpool left it late before signing Luis Diaz when they had initially planned to do nothing. What a shot in the arm the Colombian gave them for the rest of the season.
“Three games into this campaign, the Reds look a side in need of a similar lift.”
Finally, the Mirror‘s Samuel Meade asked whether Liverpool have a genuine problem:
“Klopp has admitted himself they were lacklustre and had their problems in the opening two games. Now, after this display at Old Trafford, especially in the first-half, any doubts over Liverpool may be further magnified.
“The Reds have been so successful in recent years that it seems almost inevitable they will remain at that level, but that assumption is being tested.
“The decision not to recruit a midfield looks to be an issue with each passing game, especially as their key players in that area continue to look their age.
“Defensively they can be got at with Virgil van Dijk miles off his best level, which will be a major concern with injuries to the likes of Joel Matip, as their high line continues to be picked apart.”