Football

Carragher on Sturridge: 'It's like playing with 10 men'

Liverpool legend Carragher has scathing words for striker Sturridge after his insipid display

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has blasted striker Daniel Sturridge for his mediocre performance in the Reds' 1-0 defeat by Southampton at Anfield yesterday morning (Singapore time).

After seeing Juergen Klopp's side miss out on a place in the League Cup final with a 2-0 aggregate loss, he said that Sturridge's best may be past him.

The 27-year-old striker, making his ninth start in all competitions this season, was guilty of missing the target from close range on two occasions.

Carragher told Sky Sports: "When he plays and he doesn't score you're basically down to 10 men because he doesn't offer anything else. The only reason to have him in the team is for finishing ability. He doesn't do anything else in the game now…

"He's had a really poor night and usually he finishes that (chance). He's a completely different player now to what he was when he first came under Brendan Rodgers.

"He used to give you penetration in behind and he had pace.

"I don't know whether his pace has completely gone, or he's worried about injuries - but his pace has gone. All he does is come to feet now."

Carragher also feels that Klopp's preference for an energetic, high-pressing style may be starting to take a toll on the team.

Experts, Sir Alex Ferguson included, have long argued that the physical demands of Liverpool's attacking game will be tough to sustain throughout an entire season.

Carragher said: "Yes. Liverpool look like they've run out of energy and legs which is a big worry. Is that down to the intensity that they play at, that they train at?

"Klopp has got no winter break. They've still got the whole of the second half of the season to go and they don't look as though there's that zip, that energy there.

"I just look at it now and all season it's been about Liverpool maybe going for the title - but that squad, you'd never think it would be good enough to win the league. The reason you may have hope is no Europe and also I think Liverpool have got a top manager.

"Out of the top six, Liverpool's is probably the sixth-best squad or the sixth best team. But they are where they are because of the manager. Now, with them running out of the legs, that energy, we're maybe seeing what this Liverpool squad is.

"And when we're talking about squad, you look at that bench and it's nowhere near big enough or strong enough."

Klopp, though, insisted that he was not concerned by the manner of the defeat, which came before their tricky FA Cup tie at home to Wolves this Saturday and a crunch match with Premier League leaders Chelsea next week.

He felt that he saw enough positives in the display to keep him optimistic.

"We usually score in situations like this but we didn't," he said of their failed attempts to score past Claude Puel's well-organised team for the third time in just over two months.

"It doesn't say anything about the performance but everything about the result. We are out and we have to accept it.

"As a coach it is very important for me to know what the performance is like and I thought we deserved to win the game.

"For me it is very important the way we choose to create chances.

"We stuck to the usual plan and in one or two moments immediately we had good chances.

"We are out and I think no one will talk about this for a long time but for us the performance was really important and I am fine with this." - WIRE SERVICES

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