Liverpool: Graeme Souness highlights weak spot he feels is holding struggling Reds back

Graeme Souness talking on a mobile phone
(Image credit: Craig Foy / SNS Group via Getty Images)

Liverpool (opens in new tab)'s midfield isn't good enough to challenge for major honours, according to club legend Graeme Souness.

The Reds' nightmarish season continued on Saturday night with 2-1 loss to Leeds (opens in new tab) at Anfield, where Crysencio Summerville's 89th-minute winner condemned Jurgen Klopp's side to their fourth league defeat of 2022/23 already.

And for Souness, it's clear where Liverpool's major problem lies: in the middle of the park. Rotten injury luck certainly hasn't helped matter, but questions have been asked of the Reds' summer recruitment in that department (Arthur was their only midfield addition, joining on loan from Juventus).

Speaking to Sky Sports after Saturday's game, Souness said (opens in new tab):

"They don't play with the same intensity. I think, in many instances tonight, Leeds were more than a match for what Liverpool had been doing to teams for years. They basically bullied teams, Liverpool; the midfield bullied teams.

"Now, they're being bullied in midfield; it's making them vulnerable at the back and they're not creating the same chances up front. Liverpool are a shadow."

Leeds players celebrate after Crysencio Summerville's winning goal in the Premier League match between Liverpool and Leeds on 29 October, 2022 at Anfield, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Liverpool have lost successive league games for the first time since March 2021 (Image credit: Nathan Stirk / Getty Images)

Souness also expressed concern about the age of most of Liverpool's midfielders. He continued:

"When you look at the midfield: Thiago, 31; [Jordan] Henserson, 31; Fabinho, 29. After that, you've got Keita, 27, Oxlade-Chamberlain – who's been out injured – 29, Curtis Jones who's 21 and Harvey Elliott who is 19.

"If you go back to the start of the season, Jurgen [Klopp] must've looked at his midfield and though, 'We're vulnerable here' – because with the age group, the chances are they'll get muscle injuries. After that, you've got the two young boys.

"The Premier League is a hard league to play in and is a long, difficult nine months for you. To expect two young lads to come in and take you through when senior players are injured is a big ask.

"Harvey Elliott has played in almost all the games. I've said this since the start of the season: I felt the midfield is no longer the midfield that can get them into the position where they're going to win the big trophies."

Liverpool haven't made a permanent midfield signing since bringing in Thiago two years ago. They've also never directly replaced Georginio Wijnaldum, who was an integral component of their 2019/20 title-winning campaign.

The Reds host Napoli (opens in new tab) in the Champions League on Tuesday night, before returning to Premier League action at Tottenham (opens in new tab) next Sunday.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...