Souness lays into "shot" Liverpool stars for failing to deal with expectations

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has warned Jurgen Klopp his players look “shot” and are a shadow of the side that won the Premier League title last season.

The 1-0 defeat to Burnley was their fifth league game in a row without a win, with the last four seeing the champions fail to score.

After watching their title rivals win in midweek, Liverpool failed to respond, where after dominating possession they lost out to a late Ashley Barnes penalty.

Since beating Crystal Palace on December 19, the Reds have now picked up just three points from a possible 15 with their bid to retain the title in real trouble.

Speaking after the game, Souness suggested Klopp would learn a lot about his players in the midst of their poorest run under his leadership.

"This has been coming,” he told Sky Sports. “Liverpool have been a shadow of the team we’ve seen for the best part of three years.

“There wasn’t any sparkle tonight, 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."

Klopp is hoping to become just the fourth manager after Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola to retain the Premier League title, but Souness now believes that a challenge his side are incapable of achieving.

He added: "There is so much expectation on their shadows because of what they have done in the last couple of seasons – European champions, Premier League champions.

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“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."

Liverpool face Manchester United in the FA Cup on Sunday before embarking on a daunting run of fixtures including Manchester City, Leicester City, West Ham and Tottenham.

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