Virgil van Dijk and his Liverpool team-mates have felt Jamie Carragher’s wrath following their shocking 5-2 loss at home to Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16.
A furious Jamie Carragher has torn Liverpool’s short-lived resurgence to shreds and called out Virgil van Dijk following the Reds’ disastrous 5-2 defeat at home by Real Madrid.
Jurgen Klopp’s side gave up a two-goal lead in their Champions League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday, as Real scored five unanswered goals at a stunned Anfield to condemn Liverpool to another humiliating result this season. The loss came after two successive wins for the Reds, a confidence-boosting Merseyside derby victory over rivals Everton and a win which ended Newcastle’s long-standing unbeaten record at home.
But those Premier League wins didn’t convince Carragher that his former team were back to their usual selves. After watching Carlo Ancelotti’s men annihilate Liverpool through goals from Vinicius Junior, Karim Benzema and Eder Militao, the Reds legend ranted for more than two minutes about Klopp and Co.’s failings on the night and during what’s been a wretched 2022-23 campaign.
“It was nonsense, absolute nonsense that Liverpool were back after the last two games,” a fuming Carragher began. “And that’s 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 had 10 men and created chances. If Newcastle had had 11 men all game, they’d have got back to 2-2, I’m convinced. Liverpool, right now and all season, as I’ve said before, 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 – the front three – don’t press like or certainly don’t have the cohesion that was there before with [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mane, so they’re new to it, [Darwin] Nunez and [Cody] Gakpo.
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“So, this Liverpool defence now, who for years we’ve been told have some of the best players in the world, can’t cope because 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 fell apart.
“I keep – I wouldn’t say making excuses, it’s the wrong word – but because as a Liverpool fan, we absolute adore this manager and his team, and they’ve done so much for the club in the last four of five years, it hurts to say anything negative because they’ve give 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. We keep looking for reasons and excuses, but no, it’s nowhere near good enough.
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What makes me laugh, and I’m not that horrible, 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 players there… Joe Gomez tonight – listen we’ve all had bad nights – and maybe I shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down because I’m sure he’ll feel terrible right now. We keep talking about midfield players who Liverpool need and I think that’s right, but I think Liverpool need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.”