Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher singled out Daniel Sturridge for attention on Wednesday night after the Reds crashed out of the EFL Cup.
A 1-0 defeat at Anfield to Southampton ensured that the Reds missed out on a spot in the final after a 2-0 aggregate loss, as their miserable January continues.
The pressure is building as they have won just one game this month, the FA Cup replay with Plymouth Argyle, and Carragher was left to assess what is going wrong.
As well as raising concern over the lack of energy in the players, Sadio Mane’s absence due to the Africa Cup of Nations and tactical mistakes from Jurgen Klopp, the Sky Sports pundit also focused on what Sturridge brings to the team.
Ultimately, Carragher doesn’t think he does bring much as he looks to have lost a step in terms of his pace and has changed his style of play which makes him wholly ineffective at times when he isn’t scoring.
“Sturridge is a completely different player now to when he first came to Liverpool,” he explained to Sky Sports. “I don’t know if his pace has completely gone or whether he’s that worried with injuries that he pulls out of something.
“You have to criticise Sturridge tonight because he missed chances, but when you look at his Liverpool record – his finishing and goal-to-game ratio – it’s fantastic. But I’m talking about his pace and his overall game because when he doesn’t score it’s like playing with 10 men.”
The England international has scored just six goals in 19 appearances in all competitions this season, as he struggles to force his way into contention in Klopp’s starting line-up while also missing out on opportunities to impress in order to claim a spot back.
However, with Mane set to return next month, it’s likely to push Sturridge down the pecking order again and restrict his opportunities. With his injury history and lack of form currently, questions have to be asked as to whether he might be heading for the Anfield exit door sooner rather than later.