John Aldridge has claimed that Liverpool are yet to reproduce the same defensive displays that saw them impress in the second half of last season after a poor performance in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle.
Brendan Rodgers' men had a numbers advantage for more than 45 minutes after Toon defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa was handed a red card in the first half for pulling back Luis Suarez. But the side were unable to capitalise on their opposition being a man down and after Newcastle took the scores to 2-1 Liverpool were only able to save a point from the game.
The Merseyside club are still sitting in the top four but Aldridge believes the defensive frailties must be addressed in order to get back to playing like they were at the end of last season, when they amassed almost as many points in the new year as eventual title winners Manchester United.
"I just think so far this season we haven't hit the heights we reached between January and May," he told the Daily Post. "Some of those performances and the way we blew teams away were fantastic. But for whatever reason we've not quite reached that level yet.
"Brendan Rodgers has obviously changed the formation recently so maybe the players are still adjusting to that."
And while some have claimed that Simon Mignolet is to blame for conceding the goals Aldridge had a different take.
"Teams knows that if they put the ball in the right areas they can hurt us," he explained. "Whether it's a problem with concentration, organisation or communication I don't know. But it's something we urgently need to sort out.
"The way Yohan Cabaye swung a free-kick to the back post and Paul Dummett volleyed home was far too easy. Two of our defenders were caught ball- watching.
"Our defenders just didn't close Cayabe down quickly enough. With the ball they use in the Premier League these days you can't just let teams try their luck from long range as shots dip and swing.
"Cayabe scored a similar goal against Everton and it was another tremendous effort.
"A great link-up between Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez got us back into it."
Liverpool have been able to find a silver lining to their lack of European football by concentrating on league games while the other sides at the top of the Premier League table are busy trying to get their squad rotations right week in and week out.
The Reds face West Brom on Saturday but will no doubt have an eye on their upcoming fixture with Arsenal the following week, which will be a huge challenge for a side trying to prove they are a serious contender for a top four finish once more.
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