Peter Crouch says Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino needs to raise his game after the Reds suffered a 1-0 home defeat against Brighton.
After going unbeaten for 68 league games at Anfield, the Reds have now lost their last two.
And the latest blank means they’ve failed to score in three consecutive league games at home for the first time since 1984.
With Manchester City beating Burnley 2-0 on Wednesday, Liverpool are now seven points off the pace. The duo meet at Anfield this weekend.
Liverpool had seemingly returned to form with back-to-back 3-1 away wins at Spurs and West Ham.
Mo Salah scored two brilliant goals at West Ham but the Egyptian couldn’t find a way past Brighton’s resolute defence on Wednesday night.
Crouch believes it’s up to Firmino to take control when Salah is quiet.
“There’s an over-reliance on Salah. Firmino’s got to step up,” Crouch told BT Sport.
“It felt like he’s coming back into it. But Salah is the one scoring the goals, he’s still got 20-goals and we’re talking about him not being on top form.
“He (Firmino)’s a top-class player but with Mane missing, Jota as well. It was a shame when Jota got injured because he was really pushing them to start.
“But when Salah’s not on it or he misses chances, I just don’t think there’s enough when Mane’s out and Jota’s out in the team to score goals.”
Crouch still thinks title race is open
Despite Manchester City stealing a march on their rivals, Crouch still thinks the title race is far from over.
He said: “It’s a crazy season. I know people will say it’s a cliche but it’s been nuts.
“Liverpool will get players back so they will go on a run. We can’t discount Manchester United and Leicester have been fantastic.
“But City are strong favourites.”
City lead United by three points after nine straight wins in the Premier League. They also have a game in hand.