Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has slammed Jurgen Klopp for leaving Joel Matip on the bench in their loss to Swansea City this past weekend.
Matip had missed the previous two games due to ongoing issues over his eligibility to play after turning down the chance to play for Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations.
FIFA cleared up the situation by revealing he could play against the Swans, but he remained on the bench until the closing stages when he was brought on as a last-ditch attacking threat.
Nicol was furious about the decision, which could be argued was down to the fact that Klopp maybe didn’t feel as though he was match sharp to start the game after sitting out.
However, that didn’t appear to come into Nicol’s thinking as he went on to rule out his former club’s chances of winning the Premier League this season due to their defence.
“There was one thing that I couldn’t understand that happened in the game,” Nicol told ESPN FC. “Liverpool’s best defender, Matip, was sat on the bench. Why? And when he came on, he played centre forward. He’s sitting on the bench.
“For two weeks we’ve been moaning about ‘Oh he can’t play because he’s supposed to play at the Africa Cup of Nations’ and all of a sudden he’s not starting the guy. Why is he on the bench? He’s the best defender.”
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard has had his say on who he believes would be the ideal man to plug the gaps at the back, with Virgil van Dijk his top choice for the job.
Speaking to BT Sport, as noted by ESPN FC, Gerrard said: “Who I think we need, I would go and try and bid for Van Dijk from Southampton.
“But we’ve had enough of their players so that will probably go down like a lead balloon.”
The Reds icon will return to the club next month as an academy coach, and he may be well advised to avoid making comments like these if he continues with his punditry work as it only sparks hope which the club may not deliver on.
While all of that will be debated, one thing is for certain and that is Liverpool’s defence is their biggest vulnerability and unless they shore things up with no new faces expected, they may well have to wait until next year for the title.