Paul Merson has torn into Liverpool for their woeful form of late and claims some of their stars are ‘hiding’ behind the injury of star man Virgil van Dijk.
The Premier League champions have lost their last six matches at Anfield and are in serious peril of missing out on a top-four finish. Indeed, defeat to Fulham last time out means they have taken just 12 points from the last 42 in the Premier League.
Such has been their struggles that there’s been talk Jurgen Klopp could walk away this summer. Thankfully for the Reds, he’s very quickly denied links to one big job.
The likes of Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have all faced spells on the sidelines this season. However, it’s the season-ending injuries of Van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez which have been most keenly felt.
Merson though is not having that as an excuse. Indeed, the Sky Sports pundit reckons their senior stars need to take a long, hard look at themselves. Furthermore, he’s claimed they need an urgent response if they’re to finish in the top four.
“I think the players have got to take some responsibility,” he wrote.
“I’ve said all along that they’ve had some big injuries. It’s been a tough season in that respect for Klopp and his side.
“They’ve lost a Rolls Royce of a centre-half in Van Dijk, they lost his partner in Gomez and they’ve lost numerous others along the way, but it’s gone too far now.
“These players are at one of the best clubs and one of the best supported in the world. They have now got to stand up and take responsibility.
“They are at Liverpool to perform and not feel sorry for themselves because of injuries.
“If they want to play for Liverpool, you cannot just wait and rely on Van Dijk coming back. You cannot keep hiding behind Van Dijk’s injury.
“This team have got to get together now and get in the top four. This club needs to be in the top four. It’s just slipping away too easily at the moment.
“I would go as far as to say losing six home games on the trot is pretty embarrassing.”
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Nagelsmann sympathy for Klopp
European football offers Klopp’s side some respite but RB Leipzig, who have won eight of their last nine – with the first leg defeat the only blemish – will not make it easy for them in Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 second leg.
“I feel for Liverpool and Jurgen especially when you are used to being successful and everything which comes into it with the emotions, the title,” said their coach Julian Nagelsmann.
“And then there is a period that is hard to come through. But the players and coach are too good and they will get out of it.
“This is a difficult phase for the team. But they are still a world-class team, it is one of the top world-class coaches.
“Klopp said this weekend it was his worst period as a coach. However, he’s already mastered some crises and they still have a chance to win the match.
“There are a lot of details coming together. That sometimes means you go down a little bit and you can’t win the matches.
“But we are not talking about the results of Liverpool. It is not important that Liverpool lost against Everton or Fulham.
“We have the necessary respect for them as we lost the first game. We will do everything we can not to lose the second leg.”