Michael Owen insists Liverpool are ‘SCARED’ to press as a team after wretched first half against Real Madrid… while Rio Ferdinand claims Reds fear being caught on the counter attack without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez in defence
Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand bemoaned Liverpool’s horrid first half display against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The Reds went into the break 2-0 behind following goals from Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio, and it was a thoroughly deserved lead for Zinedine Zidane’s side in the first leg of the quarter-final tie.
Following such an emphatic victory over Arsenal in the Premier League, there were hopes Liverpool were turning a corner following their woeful form but they appeared back at square one on Tuesday after eventually going down 3-1.
The damage was done for Liverpool in the first half as they fell to a 3-1 defeat vs Real Madrid
Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio were on the scoresheet for the Spanish giants on Tuesday
And former Liverpool striker Owen claimed the Reds have lost their aura and no longer press with the same intensity from the front – something that has become synonymous with Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Owen told BT Sport at half-time: ‘A lot of people have spoken about why Liverpool aren’t the force they were.
‘When you think back at how they used to pinch the ball, it was almost as if they would swarm.
‘They are now just not doing it. Whether they’re scared to press as a team.’
Former Manchester United centre back Ferdinand also lamented Liverpool’s display during the break.
Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand slammed Liverpool’s first half performance in Madrid
‘Liverpool made mistakes all over the place, especially in defence and they have been punished by Real Madrid,’ Ferdinand added.
Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips continued together in the heart of defence for Liverpool and Ferdinand argued that the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez has made the side more cautious when going forward.
Ferdinand argued: ‘They haven’t got the two centre backs they can leave.
Ferdinand claimed the Reds fear being exposed without Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk playing
‘Before they could fly at teams and not worry about what’s behind you. They can’t do that at the moment.’
Liverpool did pull an early goal back in the second half through Mohamed Salah but Madrid hit back straight away and doubled their lead again thanks to a second from Vinicius.
The Reds now have it all to do at home in the second leg next Wednesday to keep their European hopes alive.