Liverpool's performance in Monday's 3-1 defeat against Leicester was "just plain rotten" and questioned the side's top four credentials, according to former Anfield defender and ESPN FC analyst Steve Nicol.
The loss at the King Power Stadium leaves Jurgen Klopp's side fifth in the Premier League table, one point behind Arsenal in fourth and three behind Manchester in third, both of whom have played a game less.
Although Liverpool have beaten top-four rivals Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Premier League leaders Chelsea they have also lost to Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea and Hull -- all sides in the bottom half of the division.
"Liverpool haven't been able to get up to play against anybody in the bottom half of the table, pretty much all season," Nicol, who won 14 major honours during his time at the club, said.
"What we're seeing is a Liverpool side that is either feast or famine. They're either fantastic or they're just plain rotten and today they were just plain rotten.
"Where was that energy that at the start of the season Liverpool had? Closing people down, running at defenders, good movement. You name it, Liverpool had it.
"Do Liverpool actually realise they've got a chance of finishing in the top four? This performance today reminded me of a side who were stuck bang in the middle of the table who couldn't go down and who couldn't go up any higher or get into Europe or anything.
"It's just not acceptable and this was about as vanilla a performance from Liverpool as you've seen all season."
Liverpool face Arsenal and Burnley at Anfield next before a trip to Manchester City.