Rio Ferdinand bemoans Liverpool's lack of INTENSITY

‘They look like a team that’s run out of steam’: Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool’s lack of ‘INTENSITY’ is the main cause of their decline this season… but Michael Owen insists a summer overhaul is NOT the answer to their problems

  • Liverpool were knocked out the Champions League after defeat to Real Madrid 
  • The Reds have endured a tough season and face a battle to finish in the top four
  • Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch criticised their defensive record 

Rio Ferdinand has claimed Liverpool look like a team that has ‘run out of steam’ after they were eliminated from the Champions League by Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Reds headed into the second leg at the Bernabeu hoping to overturn a 5-2 deficit after a disastrous result in the first leg at Anfield last month.

However, despite a bright start, they struggled to assert their influence on the game and Real Madrid endured a comfortable evening before Karim Benzema helped to secure a 1-0 win for Los Blancos. The 6-2 aggregate defeat was Liverpool’s heaviest ever in European football.

In truth, the game encapsulated much of the Reds’ season, with Jurgen Klopp’s side having badly struggled throughout this campaign and in a fight to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Following the defeat, Rio Ferdinand expressed his belief that their demise this year was down to a lack of intensity on and off the ball.  

Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League after a 6-2 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid

Rio Ferdinand claimed Jurgen Klopp’s side look like a team that has ‘run out of steam’ this year  

‘They look like team that’s run out of steam,’ he told BT Sport. ‘Physicality was one of the biggest parts of their success, outrunning teams, overpowering teams, plus their tactical nous – and now they’re not doing it.

‘The team looks exposed, open and lacklustre in defence. They’re not winning duels like they used to and then with that all together you get results like you get this season.

‘It’s back to basics sometimes, the intensity in this team was huge but it’s no longer there, whether it’s forward players or defenders.

‘They’re also not defending like they were before in transitions and turnovers and I don’t see the authority or confidence now.

‘It’s natural to lose confidence after a (bad) result but it’s rearing its head week-after-week.’

Former Reds striker Peter Crouch echoed Ferdinand’s thoughts and felt their defensive vulnerabilities – which were evident in the first leg of the last-16 tie – are what’s causing them major problems.

He said: ‘Let’s be honest the tie was lost at Anfield. That goal tonight does encapsulate a lot of the season. 

‘They’re not doing right things defensively, switching off defensively, its hard to put your fingers on it (why it’s happening) but they’ve been super human for the last few years.’

Michael Owen agreed with his fellow pundits, but insisted that – despite several calls for a major overhaul this summer – fans must keep faith with Klopp and his team.

He added: ‘There’s six or seven things you could say are going wrong. It starts from the front with the pressing.

‘The understanding between Firmino, Salah, Mane, the midfielders were aggressive too. 

Ferdinand claimed the Reds have lost their intensity which was a key reason for their success

However, Michael Owen pleaded for patience and insisted a major rebuild was not the answer

‘Now, because the chain reaction is they’re getting exposed at the back, the gaps are starting to widen and appear, there’s so many different things.

‘But there’s so many positives within this group of players, the manager and the ownership.

‘They’ve been successful for years and years. They know the formula to win and they’ve just got to get back to it. 

‘The magic is there but they just need to find it. You can’t just rip everything up and start again.’

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