Peter Crouch said Mohamed Salah was “non-existent” in Liverpool’s draw with Newcastle on Wednesday night in what was a “disjointed” performance.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was not too critical of his side and believed the performance was a step up from the second half in the draw with West Brom.
The German said his side “lost the plot a little bit” in the second 45 minutes against West Brom, but they were much improved at St James’ Park. But despite creating several chances they could not make the breakthrough and the champions have now suffered back-to-back draws against bottom half sides.
It means Man Utd can claim joint-top spot with the Reds if they defeat Aston Villa on New Year’s Day. Klopp’s men do not play again until January 4.
Former Liverpool striker Crouch was disappointed with the display and star striker Salah, who has made 14 starts from 16 Premier League games so far.
“Let’s be honest, it didn’t click,” Crouch told Amazon Prime. “I think certainly Mane in the first half… Salah was non-existent.
“Having said that, Salah had the best chance of the game and it was unlike him. Nine times out of ten you expect him to bend that in.
“He didn’t quite get the curl on it that time. A little bit disjointed.”
Liverpool midfielder James Milner was left frustrated by the result.
“I thought they defended well and the keeper obviously played well but I thought we played well as well,” he told BBC Sport.
“We had enough opportunities to win the game but tonight it would not go in for us.
“We had a lot of chances and a few situations where the final cross or ball was not good enough. As a team we didn’t finish off our situations well enough and that was disappointing. It didn’t happen for us tonight.”
The Reds’ boss was far from upset with his side, who had Thiago and Xherdan Shaqiri back in the ranks.
Klopp said: “If you keep creating, you will score. I know we will score again, that’s how it is. It’s not a problem in the moment.
“We needed to show a reaction from the second half against West Brom because we lost the plot a little bit there, it looked in that second half like we were 1-0 down and not 1-0 up.
“Tonight was a very good reaction to that, without getting the result. Everybody knows if we win 1-0 then everybody is over the moon, and we should have won the game at least 1-0. But we didn’t, and we have to accept that.”
“But I can work with this performance, I can work with the things we saw tonight.
“We can build on that, we don’t have to change in the next three or four days as if everything is going wrong.”