Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher feels Jurgen Klopp's decision to rotate his back four was to blame for the Reds' thumping 5-0 loss to Man City at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon, as reported by This is Anfield.
City striker Sergio Aguero had given the hosts the lead in the 24th minute before Liverpool winger Sadio Mane was sent off after the half hour mark for a high challenge on goalkeeper Ederson.
Aguero had capitalised on an opening in Liverpool's defensive back-line and more space opened up as City began to use their numerical advantage to their benefit. Klopp decided to play Ragnar Klavan instead of first choice centre-back Dejan Lovren for the match and felt that the Croatian international had “felt the intensity” during the international break.
However Carragher, now a pundit on Sky Sports, analysed the game and was of the opinion that Klopp should have played Lovren for such an important game. Carragher stated:
“I know Lovren wasn’t 100 percent, but as a centre-back you need to play 40, 50 games a season,” he said.
“You’ve got to go out and play. You’re not going to be 100 percent fit all the time. It’s Manchester City away, you’ve got to play.
“I’m not saying it was Klavan’s fault that Liverpool did this, but he’s not quite at the level of Lovren or [Joel] Matip.
“He’s below, that’s why he’s third choice. But it’s not a fight to get into the team really, you know who Liverpool’s first two centre-halves are.”
Liverpool's unsuccessful attempt to sign Virgil van Dijk in the summer transfer window means that Klopp only has Matip, Lovren, Klavan and Joe Gomez as his four main options in defence.
With Matip and Lovren both suffering early season injuries and the latter failing to find consistent form so far this season, perhaps Klopp felt Klavan would be a better option at the back for the City clash. Having said that, Carragher's point of playing a regular, first-choice centre back makes sense given the need for stability and consistency in the Reds' defence.