Former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer admits the Reds can have no excuses for their latest embarrassing result.
Manager Rafael Benitez's troubled campaign took another turn for the worse as his side were bundled out of the FA Cup by Championship strugglers Reading on Wednesday night.
The Royals did need a late penalty to level the third-round replay at Anfield but went on to secure a deserved 2-1 victory with a Shane Long goal in extra time.
The result increases the pressure on Benitez with his side already out of the Champions League and seventh in the Barclays Premier League. McAteer told LFC TV: "Sometimes you just can't defend that kind of performance. It was poor."
He added: "Liverpool just didn't really create anything and to be fair the better team won on the night."
Liverpool were weakened by the absences of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres for the majority of the game after the key pair were both forced off with injury.
McAteer now has serious concerns for the team should their talismanic captain and star striker face time out.
He said: "They are the two players who can create something out of absolutely nothing, they can produce a bit of magic.
"You just look around the team and when those two are not there, who is going to create that bit of magic? Where is that bit of leadership and quality?"
He added: "They seem really vulnerable all the time. The back four are very fragile.
"Teams are coming, and even when they're going 1-0 down, they know they are going to get a chance to score and possibly go on to win the game."
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