Graeme Souness has insisted that Liverpool players are to blame for their slow start to the season but has suggested that Jurgen Klopp needs to freshen things up at the club.
The Merseysiders are renowned for their high intensity pressing and fast-paced attacking but those key characteristics have been lacking for the majority of the new campaign.
The midfield has received heavy criticism in recent weeks and the former Red believes that is the one area of the pitch that is letting the side down at the moment.
“You start off by saying they have some fabulous players there, they really have,” the Reds legend said on talkSPORT.
“It would appear that a lot of them are not at it, maybe because he’s using the same terminology when he speaks to them, the training will be the same, they’ll be staying in the same hotels, doing everything that has brought them success in recent years.
“They just appear to be lacking the energy that they need to play the brand of football they want to play, which is in your face, midfielder bullies the other midfielder and they’re constantly on the front-foot.
“That is missing and it’s something they have to get back.
“You go back to the Napoli game and they were just so far off it, and they’ve never got any better since then, really.
“The players are at one of the great football clubs in the world, they are lucky to be there and they have performed really well in their recent history, but they are well short right now.
“They need to take a look at themselves first and ask themselves what is the difference between this year and the previous five or six years.
“When they were at their very best they had Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner, not three terribly technically gifted players in midfield, but they just outworked the opposition.
“To be successful these players had to be at it all the time and if you’re half a yard short you end up going backwards. So maybe that is something lost, maybe that is a real fact of Liverpool’s midfield that they no longer have that.
“Thiago is a wonderful little footballer but he can’t do that, that’s not his game. His game is clever and cute passes. Overall, their midfield is not doing it anymore.”
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones and Naby Keita all remain sidelined through injury at the moment while Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson have all spent time on the treatment table this season.
Liverpool supporters were calling out for the club to sign a new midfielder earlier this summer but had to settle for the loan signing of Arthur Melo from Juventus on deadline day.
There are strong reports suggesting that Jude Bellingham will be targeted by the Anfield outfit at the end of the season and the teenager could be the one signing that would take the Reds to the next level.
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Despite all the talk about what players the club should sign and Klopp’s side currently ‘a country mile off’ last season’s form, Souness remains confident that his former club can turn things around.
“If you’re a top player it doesn’t go overnight, it’s not like a switch, so it’s still in them somewhere. They are still a very good team,” the Scotsman continued.
“I remember when I was at the club, we lost at home to Man City on Boxing Day and we went to 12th in the league, and people had written us off, the empire is crumbling, it’s now Man United’s turn… and then we ended up going on to win the title.
“I’m not saying this Liverpool team can do that… but I’d also like to point out that last January they were 14 points adrift of Man City and people were writing them off, and they ended up losing the league by one point.
“So you don’t become a bad team overnight, but I will accept that they are a country mile off where they have been over the last five or six years.”