MANCHESTER, ENGLAND (REUTERS) - Former Liverpool captain and manager Graeme Souness has labelled the current team an "easy touch" and a shadow of their former selves after the champions fell to a 2-0 derby defeat by Everton - their fourth straight home defeat.
In another dismal performance, Jurgen Klopp's team looked nothing like the side which stormed to the league title last season, ending the club's 30 year wait for a domestic championship.
The loss follows defeats at Anfield by Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester City and was Everton's first win at Anfield since 1999.
"They're a shadow of a team. When you think what Liverpool have been for three years - a team that no one wants to play against, a team that were always on the front foot, super aggressive, must have been horrible to play against them," said Souness, now a pundit with Sky Sports.
"And now everyone wants to play against them. They're an easy touch and that hurts me."
Souness questioned the approach taken by Liverpool's players to the clash with their Merseyside neighbours who had not beaten them in 20 league encounters.
"As a Liverpool supporter, I am deeply disappointed with my team. It didn't look like they had any energy or any fight or any real aggression about them. The best team got the points," he added.
"I think there's no Liverpool player that can come off that pitch tonight and think 'I've had a good game tonight'."
Liverpool are in sixth place, 16 points behind leaders Manchester City and now face a battle to even make the top four and qualify for next year's Champions League.
Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum said it was vital that Liverpool took on the challenge with the right mindset.
"You don't want to feel sorry for yourself and don't want to go into the victim role," said the midfielder.
"You just want to deal with the situation and try to bring it to a better end, or a good end, even if you know that you have a lot of injuries.
"I think that's how we should look at the situation, not be the victims but just try to turn it around. We have a lot of games to turn it around - if we're going to look at the situation as victims it's going to be worse," he said.