Graeme Souness: Liverpool players need to stand up and be counted

 Chris Scott and Amanda Davies

Since last Sunday's error-strewn 4-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur there has been an increasing scrutiny on Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp; his style of play, team selection and transfers.

That defeat, after just nine games of the Premier League season, left Klopp's Liverpool 12 points behind leaders Manchester City and the wait for a top-flight title -- last won in 1990 -- likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

However, Liverpool great Graeme Souness, who won three European Cups and five league titles in his six full seasons at the club, believes that there is too much emphasis on the manager in the modern game and not enough on the players.

He writes in his autobiography -- "Football: My Life, My Passion" -- that back in his playing days when results were not going so well the papers would be full of "Souness didn't do his job," or "Kenny Dalglish missed a sitter" or 'Alan Hansen was sloppy at the back."

Like Souness, Dalglish and Hansen were Scottish internationals. The trio was key to Liverpool's unparallelled domestic and European success in the late 1970s and 1980s.

"Now the emphasis is all on the manager," Souness tells CNN Sport. "Tactics, preparation, substitutions, even pillows in the hotel and travel arrangements. "I'm a great believer that you cannot have a successful football club unless you have good senior pros," Souness says. "That was my experience at Liverpool. "Players have to get back to taking a bit of responsibility."

So he approached the mild-mannered Joe Fagan, then a coach who would go onto manage the club and win Liverpool's fourth European Cup in eight years, to enquire how they wanted him to play. Fagan famously exploded with expletives, shouting at Souness questioning why the club had paid so much money for him if he had to ask how to play football.

"What was he saying to me there? Don't take that as a moment, take that as part of the bigger picture," Souness says. "He was saying to me be responsible, work it out for yourself son and if you don't work it out you won't be here very long.

"That's what good players do. You don't have to wait until halftime for the manager to tell you 'tuck in a bit more, you stay wide.' Good players see where the game is going moment by moment."

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Domain: Afterhours
Category: Sports

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