Jamie Carragher has ripped apart Liverpool’s defenders following Tuesday’s 5-2 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League and taken aim at Virgil van Dijk in particular.
The Merseysiders took a two-goal lead at Anfield in their last-16, first-leg clash but were ripped apart by five unanswered goals from the Spanish giants, with Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema both netting twice either side of an Eder Militao header.
It marks the first time Liverpool have conceded five times at Anfield in a European game and Carragher has now torn into his old club’s hapless back-line and fired a pop at Van Dijk over comments he made last year.
Speaking on CBS Sports after the heavy defeat to Real Madrid, he said: ‘It was nonsense, absolute nonsense that Liverpool were back in the last two games and that is why I was cautious before the game.
‘They played against an Everton team, one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a derby game from an Everton team who did nothing. I was at the Newcastle game as well – Newcastle with 10 men created chances. If they’d had 11 men they’d have got back to 2-2, I’m convinced about.
‘Because Liverpool all season have been an absolute shambles defensively. Now this team had a great defensive record last season, but we know the midfield doesn’t have the energy anymore, the attacking players in the front three don’t press, or don’t have the cohesion, of [Roberto] Firmino or [Sadio] Mane, they’re new to it [Darwin] Nunez and [Cody] Gakpo.
‘So this Liverpool defence now, who we’ve been told for years have some of the best players in the world, can’t cope.
‘For years they’ve had a front six in front of them who probably worked harder and smarter than any other team in world football. And now that’s gone, it’s completely fallen apart.
‘I keep… making excuses is probably the wrong word but, as a Liverpool fan, we absolutely adore this manager and team and they’ve done so much for the club in the last four or five years, it hurts you to say anything negative because they’ve given you so much.
‘But Liverpool are eighth in the Premier League. They’ve just been battered 5-2 in the Champions League. I know it’s Real Madrid, but these are the two teams who were in the final last year. It’s not acceptable what we’re watching this season.
‘And we keep looking for reasons and excuses, but, no, it’s nowhere near good enough.
‘What makes me laugh – I’m not that bothered by it – but Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in that back four about two months ago. I think I’d take his place at the moment!
‘Some of the players there, Joe Gomez… I mean, look, we’ve all had bad nights as players – and maybe I shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down because I’m sure he feels terrible right now – but I think Liverpool, we keep talking about midfield players they need and that’s right, but I think Liverpool need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.’
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