Anfield boss appears to be reaching the end of this tether.
Rafael Benitez pulled no punches in assessing his side’s poor display after the 1-0 defeat by Wigan, accusing his team of lacking attitude and character.
“I’m really disappointed,” a sombre Liverpool manager told BBC Sport.
“In the first half we didn’t do anything and didn’t show the attitude required. It’s difficult to explain.
“At half-time we talked about the things we weren’t doing well – the attitude and the character. We made too many mistakes and played too quickly.”
A ninth Premier League defeat in 29 matches leaves Liverpool with an uphill struggle to qualify for the Champions League, with Benitez’s side a point behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who have a game in hand.
The way we beat Liverpool and Chelsea a few months ago shows the potential they have
Wigan manager Roberto Martinez
Just above Liverpool are Manchester City, who have the same number of points as Spurs, but have played one game less than the London side, while Aston Villa are in seventh, with 45 points from 26 games.
Hugo Rodallega’s 35th-minute winner came from a mistake by Dirk Kuyt, a point that was picked up on by Benitez, who has frequently promised during the season that Liverpool will qualify for the Champions League.
“We didn’t deserve anything in the first half,” conceded Benitez, who, perhaps with Thursday’s Europa League match against Lille in mind, broke from his usual approach of defending his team following a poor performance.
“In the second half we worked harder but Wigan defended really well.”
Late in the game, television pictures seemed to capture captain Steven Gerrard flashing what looked like a V-sign at referee Andre Marriner after the midfielder was booked but both Benitez and club officials have played it down.
“I don’t know, I was too far away,” was the Liverpool manager’s response. (BBC Sport)
Last night’s result, and perhaps more importantly, performance have set us back about two months. After seemingly getting ourselves back on course we needed to come away from the DW Stadium with something, at least a point, to keep up with the myriad of sides looking to take our fourth place spot.
Wigan are not a good team, and I am not saying that out of pettiness following our defeat, they are just an average team who will do well to avoid the drop. However we failed to break them down and whats more we didn’t look like we deserved to. Yes we had chances, we piled on the pressure but it was no surprise when the whistle went and we had nothing to show for our efforts.
I think Rafa is right to chastise the team, hopefully it will have the right effect. We simply can not afford any more performances such as that one. We have now lost nine Premier League games this season that is more than the previous two combined and that is atrocious. This was supposed to be the season of no excuses but now what do we do?