Paul Ince

Former Liverpool star Paul Ince has questioned Liverpool’s midfield set-up in their 2-1 loss to Manchester United on Monday.

The Reds suffered their first defeat of the season at Old Trafford after goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford earned United a deserved lead, and Mo Salah’s late header wasn’t enough to get Liverpool back into the game.

Speaking to Optus Sport via the Liverpool Echo, Ince argued Liverpool’s lack of intensity cost them in the game, querying Jurgen Klopp’s midfield set-up in the match.

‘There was no intensity, no rhythm,’ said the former midfielder. ‘Fabinho comes on second half [and] they’re a different team.

‘[Klopp] took Henderson off and no disrespect to Milner but he’s played the whole game. I felt from minute one, they didn’t look comfortable in how they set the team up.’

Liverpool are struggling for numbers, with 11 first team players missing the game through injury.

Midfielders Thiago, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among those absent , and many fans have called for reinforcements despite Klopp’s claims that the club won’t sign another midfielder this transfer window.

Ince questioned Klopp’s decision to play teenager Harvey Elliott, who enjoyed success playing in a left forward role on loan at Blackburn in the Championship last season, deeper at Old Trafford.

He said: ‘Harvey Elliott in the holding position, at Blackburn he was on the left scoring 15 goals a season, now he’s in a holding position. Slow, lethargic.’

Meanwhile, Steve McManaman argued Liverpool were ‘nowhere near good enough’, suggesting results last season ‘papered over the cracks’ of some worrying signs.

‘Last season when they went behind they were winning games so that papered over the cracks to an extent,’ said McManaman, who made 175 appearances for Liverpool.

‘Fulham they were slow, started great against Manchester City but subsequently they’ve started slow every time, you knew after five or 10 minutes they were in trouble and at the races.

‘It was only a matter of time they were going to get caught and when they did get caught that’s when it’s “uh oh, we need to sharpen up” but it’s too late in games.

‘These games are more than just playing nice and scoring goals, this is Liverpool versus Manchester United, last season Liverpool battered them and got all the glory, they have to take it because they were nowhere near good enough.

‘All that matters is the result and Liverpool are languishing at the bottom of the league. They’ll get out of it, but they’ve got two points out of a possible nine which is a massive problem.’

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