'Everyone wants to play Liverpool' - Premier League champions an 'easy touch' for rivals, claims Souness

Curtis Jones Georginio Wijnaldum Liverpool Everton 2020-21
A Reds legend thought his old club lacked "any fight or any real aggression" during their Merseyside derby defeat at the weekend

Liverpool have become an "easy touch" for their rivals, according to Graeme Souness, who says "everyone wants to play against" the reigning Premier League champions.

Jurgen Klopp's side suffered their fourth successive defeat at Anfield on Saturday, with Everton the latest side to get the better of a Liverpool team that continues to fall well short of the standards they set during their title-winning 2019-20 campaign.

The Reds dominated possession in the Merseyside derby clash but struggled to create any clear cut chances, with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring for the Toffees after swift counter-attacks, and Souness was scathing in his assessment of their performance.

What was said?

"As a Liverpool supporter, I am deeply disappointed with my team," the Liverpool legend told Sky Sports .

"It didn't look like they had any energy or any fight or any real aggression about them. The best team got the points today."

Asked whether the Reds were more like their old selves in the second half, Souness responded: "The first 10 minutes, I expected a reaction and at half-time and I think we got that kicking into the Kop which you always expect, an empty Kop.

"But after 10 minutes that faded as well. I think there's no Liverpool player that can come off that pitch tonight and think 'I've had a good game tonight'.

"They're a shadow of a team. When you think what Liverpool have been for three years - a team that no one wants to play against, a team that were always on the front foot, super-aggressive, must have been horrible to play against them.

"And now everyone wants to play against them. They're an easy touch and that hurts me."

Can Liverpool still win the title?

Liverpool looked on course to defend the Premier League trophy after beating Crystal Palace 7-0 at Selhurst Park on December 19 - with that result ensuring that they sat top of the table on Christmas Day.

However, the Reds have only picked up two wins from 11 matches since then, and they now find themselves 16 points behind pace setters Manchester City, who still have a game in hand.

Klopp has already given up on the title, as he told reporters following his team's defeat to Leicester last week: "I don't think we can close the gap this year, to be honest.

"We're not worrying about the title, we're not silly."

Salvation in Europe?

In addition to slipping out of the title race, Liverpool have also suffered early exits in both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup, leaving the Champions League as their only remaining route to silverware.

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The Reds have saved their best displays for the European stage this term, with a 2-0 win in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig marking their latest triumph.

Klopp's men will be expected to progress to the last four after the return leg at Anfield, and they would then have a great chance of securing a seventh continental crown - two years on from their last triumph in Madrid.

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