Liverpool great Jamie Carragher has slammed his former club’s defenders, including Virgil van Dijk, after their 5-2 UEFA Champions League last-16 home loss against Real Madrid on Tuesday (February 21).

The Reds slumped to a dispiriting defeat in front of their home crowd despite going two goals up inside 15 minutes. Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah put the hosts in front before Vinicius Junior leveled things with a first-half brace. After the break, Eder Militao headed one in from a corner and Karim Benzema scored twice to seal the result.

Speaking on CBS Sports, Carragher ripped apart Liverpool’s defenders following their hapless performances against Real Madrid. He said:

“It was absolute nonsense that Liverpool were back in the last two games and that is why I was cautious. Because they have been an absolute shambles defensively all season. This team had a great defensive record last season, but the midfield doesn’t have the energy anymore, the attacking players in the front three don’t press, or don’t have the cohesion, of [Roberto] Firmino or [Sadio] Mane.”

Explaining the reasoning behind the Reds’ downfall, Carragher added:

“This defence now, who we’ve been told have some of the best players in the world, can’t cope. For years, they’ve had a front six in front of them who worked harder and smarter than any other team in the world. And now that’s gone, it’s completely fallen apart.”

Taking aim at Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, Carragher continued:

“What makes me laugh – I’m not that bothered by it – but Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in that back four about two months ago. I think I’d take his place at the moment! Some of the players there, Joe Gomez… I mean, look, we’ve all had bad nights as players but I think Liverpool, we keep talking about midfielders, need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.”

Jurgen Klopp highlights rare positives after Liverpool’s 5-2 UCL defeat to Real Madrid

Speaking at a post-match press conference, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp pointed out his team’s positives after their recent loss. He said:

“The start of the game, in our situation, where we are, it’s really important that we see the positive steps too. I think in the first half, besides the two goals we conceded, was the best we had played, probably in the whole season. I liked that a lot. But, I think it’s obvious that we could have done better while defending.”

The Merseyside outfit are next set to be in action at Crystal Palace in their Premier League away encounter on Saturday (February 25).