Liverpool look “shot” and are “a shadow of the team we’ve seen for the best part of three years”, says Graeme Souness, with a title-holding outfit finding themselves stuck in an uncharacteristic rut.
The Reds have enjoyed a period of domestic and continental dominance, with Champions League and Premier League crowns captured along the way.
Ending a 30-year wait for top-flight glory was supposed to be the start of something special for the men from Merseyside, with more silverware expected to roll into Anfield.
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Liverpool have, however, gone five league games without a win, failing to score in four of them, and are now in danger of slipping out of the top four.
A 1-0 loss to Burnley represents the latest blow to have been landed on Klopp’s side, with the Clarets inflicting a first home defeat on the Reds in almost four years.
Souness admits that a star-studded squad have lost their spark, as injury struggles do them few favours, with Liverpool looking as though they are not up to the challenge of becoming a “special team”.
The Anfield icon told Sky Sports on the back of a shock reversal against Burnley: “This has been coming. Liverpool have been a shadow of the team we’ve seen for the best part of three years.
“There wasn’t any sparkle, they were flat when they got the ball into the final third and when the time came to deliver, delivery was poor time and time again. They lacked quality all the way through.
“Jurgen has some hard thinking to do. Some of those players look like they are shot. There is no sparkle about them. This will be a real test for these players. Jurgen will now find out what he has in the dressing room.”
Souness added: “There is so much expectation on their shoulders because of what they have done in the last couple of seasons - European champions, Premier League champions.
“The expectation levels are there and on their shoulders. It was at the start of the season and they have not dealt with it very well.
“That's what makes you a special team. It's hard enough to win it. But to retain it and stay there, year in and year out, that's what makes you a special team and right now this Liverpool team are not up for that challenge.”
The Reds’ next outing will see them face Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup, while a return to Premier League action will be made on January 28 away at Tottenham.