Ian Wright has told the Kelly & Wrighty Show that the likes of Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are ‘not really making the impact’ Jurgen Klopp requires from his stand-in Liverpool players.
It took 1369 days before Liverpool were beaten in the league at Anfield against Burnley last month. However, the 1-0 loss to Brighton has made it back-to-back home defeats for the first time since 2012.
All three of the aforementioned names featured during Liverpool’s fourth league defeat of the season, and none of them failed to make a lasting impact.
Shaqiri, 29, made it back-to-back league starts, while Origi, 25 and Oxlade-Chamberlain, 27, were called upon from the bench.
Combined, the trio of all-stars have failed to score a single goal between them with only Shaqiri contributing from an attacking sense with two assists.
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Wright on Liverpool
And Wright thinks the lack of quality from the bench has hurt Liverpool this season, particularly in recent weeks with the Reds winless at Anfield in their previous four matches.
“When you talk about mental and physical tiredness,” said Wright. “When Liverpool chased down Man City to the one point, unbelievable mental and physical output. Same when they won it.
“To stay in front of everyone like they did and obliterate everybody. Unbelievable. All with no injuries. Hardly any injuries to any of their team.
“I think what they have done now, with the injuries, and the back-up players in Origi, in Shaqiri and like the OX.
“He’s not really getting in and making the impact Jurgen Klopp wants and then you get into a situation where you play a Brighton team, who are unbelievably well organised, and they got forwards who can score. Then you miss a couple of chances and then that starts weighing up on you.”
What RTK has to say
Indeed, Liverpool have suffered heavily as a result of injuries this season. This is no longer an excuse, but a fact. The Reds were without eight first team players during the defeat against Brighton, after all, including Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Fabinho, Naby Keita, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane. That’s a total absence of £300 million in quality.
However, Wright does make a valid point. Klopp’s substitutes did not help on Wednesday night. Curtis Jones was brought on far too late, while Oxlade-Chamberlain and Origi were surplus to requirements.
Origi touched the ball just seven times in the 26 minutes he was on the pitch, while Oxlade-Chamberlain was equally ineffective as he repeatedly ran into trouble and surrendered possession.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Liverpool were to hit back against City on Sunday. Klopp’s troops are more than capable of doing so, after all. The worry is against teams in the bottom half of the table.
Liverpool need to rediscover their act fast if the Reds are to carve out enough victories to secure a top-four finish this season.