Steve Nicol has described Joel Matip and Joe Gomez’s centre-back partnership as ‘absolutely horrendous’ after Liverpool fell to a 3-0 defeat to Wolves at Molineux.
The Reds found themselves 2-0 down inside 12 minutes after an own goal from our No. 32 and a thunderous strike from Craig Dawson.
Ruben Neves added a third for the hosts 20 minutes from time to seal all three points and Nicol was critical of the defensive aspect of Liverpool’s performance.
“Liverpool started this game just backing off and almost asking to be ran at. Two-down after 15 minutes. Gomez and Matip today, as a centre-back partnership, were absolutely horrendous,” he told ESPN (via The Boot Room).
“Matip starts off with an own goal which basically comes about because he doesn’t make a decision and he ends up deflecting the ball in off the post.”
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Jamie Carragher also questioned where the leadership was amongst the Reds’ backline with Virgil van Dijk still sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Gomez and Matip are experienced central defenders, but they looked like absolute strangers out on the pitch yesterday and it looked like it was the first time they’d ever played together.
Performances in midfield and at the top end of the pitch weren’t much better, but if you cannot keep a clean sheet then your chances of taking something from the game are rather slim, especially when our forwards are so low on confidence at the moment.
Ibou Konate, who has impressed in recent weeks despite our poor form, is also out with a hamstring injury meaning we have Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as our only other fit central defenders.
The pair performed superbly during the 2020/21 campaign when we experienced a major injury crisis, but for us to be considering them again years later makes you question the club’s recruitment.
We understand that injuries cannot be helped and we have been unfortunate this season, but for the club to not add reinforcements to help us get out of this mess last month was rather bemusing.
Van Dijk should be returning to action in the next couple of weeks and is expected to be joined by Bobby Firmino and Diogo Jota – news that gives us some sort of hope with a huge Champions League last-16 clash with Real Madrid on the horizon.
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