Ferdinand, Fowler blast ‘shocking’ Liverpool star for ‘lack of desire’ in Napoli defeat

Joe Williams
Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler speaks into a headset

Rio Ferdinand and Robbie Fowler criticised the performance from Liverpool as Jurgen Klopp’s side lost 4-1 to Napoli in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday night.

The 2018/19 winners began the 2022/23 Champions League campaign with defeat in their first match with a terribly poor defensive display in Naples.

Napoli were far superior in the first half and went into the break 3-0 up and, although Liverpool improved after the break, they couldn’t claw a way back into the game.

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A brace from Piotr Zielinski and further goals from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Giovanni Simeone made the scoreline comfortable before Luis Diaz’s consolation for Liverpool.

The scoreline could’ve potentially been worse if Alisson hadn’t saved a first-half penalty and Liverpool legend Fowler was not happy with what he saw from the Reds as a whole or Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Fowler said on BT Sport: “What I would say is you can’t question the desire of this team over the last few years, but you can tonight.

“We know how good Napoli are and they’ve been brilliant, but Liverpool have been so poor.

“Joe Gomez will get all the stick [for his first-half performance] but look at the lack of desire from Trent.

“You can’t call out him going forward but defensively we can pick him apart because he doesn’t show the same desire to get back than he does to get forward and that’s wrong.

“Liverpool were shocking defensively.”

And former Manchester United defender Ferdinand was similarly scathing, he added: “It was an embarrassing first 45 minutes for Liverpool, particularly defensively.

“What you can’t accept as a manager or as a player is a lack of effort and desire. When people don’t run or don’t have the desire to get back.

“Gomez makes the mistake but you’ve got to get back and help your team-mates and Trent didn’t do that.

“Liverpool got teased, they got embarrassed, they got shown up. This result has been coming too. They were lacklustre and lacked grit, determination and desire.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson admitted after the match that the Reds got what they “deserved” from the match with Klopp’s side not executing their game plan.

“We were miles too open. You can not come to a place like this and be this open,” Robertson told BT Sport.

“We had chances, they were the miles better team, and when you are a team who presses, when you make one tackle and miss it, you have to back that up and then back your mate up and too many times they turned us and had those spaces to get at us, get the ball in behind and cause our two centre-backs problems.

“When you come away in a Champions League game, you can’t be that open and you have to get back to basics, you have to be compact. We created chances tonight but we deserved this result tonight and they found so many spaces in the first half, it was like they had an extra man and it is not like us.

“You have to be ready to fight and we were not.”