Jamie Carragher has explained the biggest problem with Liverpool’s decision to play high defensive lines.
The Premier League champions suffered a shock 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa, the heaviest in Jurgen Klopp’s reign.
Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick as he got past the Reds’ high line, part of the “gegenpress” that saw them win the title by 33 points last year.
And the former defender explained how it became their biggest weakness at Villa Park.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Carragher said: “No. Not really [can’t explain it]. I was almost laughing. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“You don’t really associate this with this Liverpool team. It’s a shocking result and performance. Certainly the worst under Jurgen Klopp no doubt about that.
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara and Wolves’ Diogo Jota has arrived too, in a shock deal worth a potential £45million.
Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.
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“It seemed very early on Liverpool did not start this game well. In the first few minutes there was danger there for them and it was interesting listening to Ollie Watkins saying they worked on Liverpool’s high line.
“For me, even though Liverpool have got a good defensive record, I don’t like them trying to catch teams offside. I don’t agree with it. Being a defender and having played that position myself this team play a lot higher up the pitch. They almost sacrifice one big chance a game with the opposition going through on goal.
“When someone beats your press around midfield and they’re not far from your back four you’ve got to get ready to go back.
“And I just couldn’t believe that it was Virgil van Dijk at the back to actually say ‘listen boys the game’s gone, it’s 5-2, let’s just step back. Let’s not make this any worse’. And it did get worse.
“They were fortunate it wasn’t eight or nine. You think of the chances Barkley had in the first half, Ollie Watkins hit the bar in the second half.
“Listen, you can’t be too critical of what this team have done and Jurgen Klopp – it was one of them mad results that happen.
“But I think you go back to the first game – conceding goals. Started conceding goals at the restart at the end of last season – we put that down to have already winning the championship so I just think in the next couple of weeks we come back to the Merseyside Derby.
“Big game, Everton top of the league and I think you can really look at that and ask is it a freak or more of a trend that’s been happening over the last 10-15 games.”
Fellow Reds legend Graeme Souness also held nothing back in his criticism of Klopp’s players.
He said: “Liverpool were awful. Liverpool for me over the past couple of years have bullied teams and been aggressive. Tonight the tables were turned on that.
“I think [Douglas] Luiz, [John] McGinn and [Ross] Barkley bossed the midfield. This is a night Aston Villa supporters won’t forget.”
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