Mohamed Salah ‘needs a kick’ as Liverpool trio blamed for poor start

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool are in ‘a difficult period’ after Napoli humbling

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Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been blamed for shaping the club’s sluggish start to the season by former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy. The Merseyside giants have endured a torrid time of things on the pitch since the beginning of the new campaign, while an injury crisis has prevented Jurgen Klopp from selecting a number of his first-choice players over the last few weeks.

Liverpool have managed to win just two of their first six Premier League matches and tasted defeat in their Champions League opener against Napoli last week, with the Italian titans running riot to stick four goals past the hapless Reds. Murphy has since insisted that complacency has been one of the reasons behind Liverpool’s woes this season before singling out Salah, Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold for individual criticism.

“We’ve got to be careful to not go too overboard on this but my feeling is there’s an air of complacency among some of the players,” Murphy told talkSPORT.

“They’ve fallen into what some managers call a comfort zone. Of course they go out with good intentions but when you know you’re going to play nearly every game, I think that can cause complacency at times.

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“When I talk about complacency I aim it at him [Van Dijk] a lot, as well as Trent Alexander-Arnold and some of the other lads but I think he’s guilty of it.

“There’s a little bit of lethargy about his play, like he’s playing in third gear. He looks like he’s playing protecting an injury, I don’t think he is but that’s the way it looks.”

Murphy went on to point out Salah’s lack of influence on proceedings over the course of the campaign to date by suggesting that the Egyptian winger could benefit from hearing some hard truths, with his performances having dipped in the weeks since penning a new and improved contract at Anfield.

“Salah’s another one, Salah needs a kick,” added Murphy. “It’s nothing to do with the contract he signed but sometimes you need it, when you’ve scored that many goals and do what he’s done sometimes you just need upstairs to say ‘come on.’

“If it means digging someone out in front of the rest of the lads, I’ve seen it before, the best midfielder Liverpool have ever had in history [Steven Gerrard]. I remember seeing at half time in a Champions League game being told to get a shower, nobody saw that coming!”

It remains to be seen whether Liverpool will be able to return to Premier League title contention in the not-too-distant future, with the Reds already six points adrift of early leaders Manchester City as a result of their lacklustre form. They will be desperate to register a much-needed victory in their next outing against Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday evening in order to gain some winning momentum and put a stop to their poor recent run.

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