Former Liverpool star Graeme Souness has blasted Reds manager Jurgen Klopp for underestimating opponents Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League encounter.
It was one of the shocks of the season when Liverpool lost to Serbian side Red Star Belgrade on a Tuesday night. The Merseyside club was 2-0 down in less than half an hour at Belgrade as a brace from Milan Parkov helped the Serbian outfit get their first win in Group C of the Champions League.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had made three changes to his starting eleven after the 1-1 draw against Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday as Joel Matip, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge got the nod for the first team. Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez were brought on as substitutes just at halftime in order to help the team salvage some glory but to no avail.
And Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has slammed Klopp for not starting with Firmino and Gomez identifying that as the main reason for the Reds’ defeat.
Souness On Klopp
While speaking as a pundit on Virgin Media One, the Scottish international explained that Jurgen Klopp took the away fixture lightly, “I think not starting with Firmino or Joe Gomez; The fact they were on the bench and came on half-time suggests they were fine so it wasn’t them carrying something. I think the message it sends to the rest of the players was, ‘you won 4-0 last time we’ll be fine again tonight. I’m of the belief you start with your strongest team, get the game won and then get off the players you want to rest.”
Souness went on to add that it’s difficult to stop and restart playing football at the top level and that’s why Liverpool wasn’t able to get their momentum going, “I think that message by not picking your strongest team to start with would have an effect with some of the players who did start. They weren’t at it. They didn’t start right and when you don’t start right, it really is an uphill battle to get the momentum back again”
I think this was a naïve mistake from Jurgen Klopp because he must’ve taken this fixture slightly easily in comparison to the rest of the teams. Hopefully, he has learned and will not repeat this error in the future as it may cost Liverpool their progression to the last 16.