The Newcastle winger did well going forward against the Black Cats but was accused of 'switching off.'
Townsend was praised for his energy out wide but, defensively, the pundits were unhappy with his contribution as Jermain Defoe netted from a set-piece before the break.
Souness said in the Sky Sports studio during half-time, when Sunderland were 1-0 up: "He must have a job at set-pieces. Why is he sprinting 50-60 yards away? I know he’s been asked to stay forward but get yourself back in the picture."
And Carragher added: "It looks like he’s switched off."
In fairness, Carragher later praised Townsend's impact going forward and suggested he was surprised the winger was taken off.
But that doesn't change the fact the wide man was at fault during Sunderland's goal - although he wasn't the only one, of course.
Most Newcastle fans felt Townsend was their best player in terms of creativity yet he ultimately didn't produce an assist.
The winger will need to concentrate during the key moments defensively and add numbers to his game if he isn't to prove a poor signing for the Magpies.