Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained his decision to replace Dejan Lovren after just 30 minutes in the Reds’ heavy defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.
The Croatian defender was withdrawn just one-third of the way into Liverpool’s 4-1 trouncing at Wembley, having arguably been at fault for Spurs’ opening two goals within the first fifteen minutes.
Lovren was replaced with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – causing a defensive reshuffle that had Joe Gomez move to the centre and Emre Can at right-back – and while Klopp conceded that the ex-Southampton man was taken out of the firing line for stability purposes, he has refused to pin the blame on him as the main problem in Liverpool’s wretched afternoon:
“I really don’t want to blame players.”
“Dejan, to be honest, was not worse than Joel [Matip]. We had to change something.
“We tried to make sure that we are a little bit more stabilised. It was less about the centre-half position with Joe there, it was more that we needed more protection in the half-space.
“In this case, with Emre which actually didn’t work too well, but that was the idea behind it.
“As I said, I could have taken another one and it would not have been the biggest difference—we still conceded two more goals after Dejan left the pitch.
“Obviously it was not the biggest influence, that’s how it is.”
Video via This is Anfield
Klopp will now have to pick his side up as Liverpool welcome Huddersfield Town – managed by Klopp’s good friend David Wagner and buoyed by their surprise win against Manchester United on Saturday – to Anfield next weekend, desperate to improve on a record that has seen them win just one of their last six Premier League matches.
On this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we’re joined by ex-Cork City players Neal Horgan and Derek Coughlan to look back on the Leesiders’ title-winning season, as well as reaction Ireland’s World Cup play-off draw and the usual League of Ireland round-up.