Firmino Salah Mane Liverpool GFXGetty/Goal

‘Salah, Mane & Firmino paid to score & deserve criticism’ – Liverpool front three becoming a concern, says Aldridge

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino can have few complaints at the criticism being aimed in their direction, says John Aldridge, with Liverpool’s front three looking “a pale shadow of the players we know they can be”.

The reigning Premier League champions drew another blank in their latest outing, a fourth in a five-match winless run, with a 1-0 defeat to Burnley seeing the Reds hit a new low.

A sequence of 68 unbeaten outings at Anfield has come to a close, with Jurgen Klopp’s side now sweating on the defence of a crown that they worked so hard to capture in 2020.

Article continues below

Few could have predicted that struggles in the final third would contribute to Liverpool becoming stuck in a rut, with one of the most fearsome attacking units in world football pieced together at Anfield.

Salah and Firmino were dropped out of the starting XI for a meeting with Burnley, before being introduced in the second half, but they, along with Mane, were unable to sparkle as expected.

Aldridge is among those to have aired concerns regarding a lack of firepower, with the former Reds striker telling the Liverpool Echo: “The front three are getting fingers pointed at them and quite rightly so because you’re paid to score goals.

“You’re on a lot of money to score goals and you have to do it. Centre-forwards have to score one in every two games basically and they’re not doing it.

“It dumbfounds me. A team that is free-scoring the way Liverpool are, to go from one extreme to the other. We were all worried about the defence but the defence have been brilliant.

“It’s the attacking part and the front three have lost their mojo.

“Mane looks a threat, more so than Salah or Firmino. They look a pale shadow of the players we know they can be. The ball isn’t falling for them and the confidence isn’t there.

“It just shows when the confidence is down, the play isn’t great, that you snatch at things as well. It’s really worrying. For whatever reason, they're not creating chances.

“We never looked like scoring against Southampton. Newcastle, no.

“That’s the worry. If you’re missing sitters and hitting the woodwork and the goalkeeper is pulling off magnificent saves, but I can’t really remember many in the last couple of games.”

Nick Pope was called into action during a meeting with Burnley, while Divock Origi hit the crossbar when clean though on goal, but Klopp is being forced back to the drawing board ahead of an FA Cup fourth-round clash with Manchester United on Sunday.