Danny Murphy claims Liverpool players need a ‘kick up the backside’ as ‘complacency’ begins to set in amongst Jurgen Klopp’s squad

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Danny Murphy has claimed that ‘complacency’ has set in amongst some Liverpool players after the Reds suffered an embarrassing 4-1 defeat in Naples last night.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were defeated in all aspects by the Serie A outfit and must now pick themselves up ahead of the visit of Wolves to Anfield on Saturday.

Former Liverpool midfielder Murphy has warned that things are ‘not going to change overnight’, however.

“I’ve felt there has been a complacency set in from some of the players,” Murphy told talkSPORT.

“Houllier used to call it ‘the comfort zone’, where players get comfortable with knowing they’re going to play. Three of that back-four has been picking itself for years, and Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk are both struggling.

“Virgil looks like maybe he’s playing with something or protecting himself a little bit because he’s not what he was. He’s still a terrific player but he’s not at the level we were talking about two seasons ago.

“So how do you provoke a reaction? How do you get players back to their level? Normally a kick up the backside and leaving you out of the team can work, but I think it’s going to be a tough few weeks for them, it’s not going to change overnight.”

The 45-year-old also dismissed claims that the Reds are missing Sadio Mane who left for Bayern Munich earlier this summer.

Luis Diaz, who was brought in from Porto in January, has been one of the few positives so far this season and he found the back of the net against Napoli with a tidy curled finish.

Mane is enjoying life in the Bundesliga and Murphy believes that any talk of the Anfield outfit missing the Senegal star is purely an ‘excuse’.

“This narrative about Mane being such a huge miss, I think that’s an easy thing to say.

“Of course he’s a miss because he’s a super player, but Diaz has been Liverpool’s best player – he’s scored four goals already and hit the woodwork four times, he’s hardly been poor.

“I think the Mane thing is just an excuse, and maybe players can hide behind that. I don’t agree with the Mane point. You miss quality, but him leaving is not the reason the players at  the back aren’t tracking runners or switching off – that’s complacency and a lack of concentration.

“If you’ve got players dropping off, it’s not because they’re physically not capable.”

READ MORE: ‘No one ever says it’ – Pundit makes honest Virgil van Dijk admission following Liverpool’s shocking Napoli performance

Trent Alexander-Arnold is one of the many Liverpool players to receive criticism for their display against Luciano Spalletti’s side.

His work rate and willingness to sprint back towards his own goal was lacking and it does appear that he could benefit from some rest.

The problem is, however, that Klopp has no other specialist right-back to call on at the moment.

Joe Gomez and James Milner can play in that position but that would be far from ideal.

Murphy has questioned whether the advice that the German tactician is giving to some of the Reds squad is starting to ‘become noise’ or ‘become muted’.

“You could argue that with a 21-year-old who has played every game for three seasons and he needs a rest, fair enough. Trent has played a lot of football and you could argue he physically is a bit off it.

“But senior players, there is no reason for Salah to drop off physically, that’s an attitude thing and that’s then on the manager.

“Does a manager’s message, no matter how successful he’s been and how good he’s been, eventually over time just become noise? Does it become muted over a period of time?

“I’m not thinking that, I think the players have to take some responsibility.”

We certainly believe that this is just a blip at the moment.

It is a blip that is going on longer that we would’ve hoped and certainly longer than we expected but we have faith in Klopp to get things back on track.

There is unreal quality in the squad and some confidence needs to be returned to the players to ensure we start winning football games again regularly.

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