In terms of tactical decisions, Jurgen Klopp made arguably his worst since taking over as Liverpool manager yesterday.
With his side winning 2-0, he chose to withdraw in-form Dejan Lovren – who wasn’t injured – at half-time. In the Croat’s place, he brought on Martin Skrtel, who put in a shocking performance which saw Southampton bag three second-half goals and win the game.
When asked about the substitution, Klopp was pretty blunt and blamed the referee – who he thought might be affected by the baying home crowd.
“His yellow card,” the German said when asked why he Lovren was taken off.
“I thought at the end of the first half it looked like the ref was not completely any more free of the emotion in the stadium. Maybe this situation was not okay.
“Okay, maybe it was a penalty – I don’t know. I thought we had to change this because it was clear that they will play a lot of long balls to Pelle and it’s not easy for a centre-half to challenge for these with a yellow card, especially when the ref changed a bit the mood.
“It was not too good today for us today, obviously.”
As Klopp recognises the decision was a grave error. In hindsight he should have trusted Lovren to stay on the field or at least brought on Kolo Toure instead of Skrtel.
The ageing Ivorian has played well when needed in 2016, and wouldn’t have rushed out of defence in the manner Skrtel decided to on more than one occasion.
The result yesterday is now all the more upsetting considering Manchester City lost again. If we’d have beaten Southampton, we’d be four points off top 4 with a game in hand – and playing significantly better than both Manchester clubs ahead of us.
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