Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique has criticised Jurgen Klopp’s decision to award midfielder Gini Wijnaldum with the captaincy during Wednesday night’s Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid.
After falling to a 3-1 defeat in the quarter-finals’ first-leg, Liverpool faced a mountain of a task during Wednesday’s second-leg.
Despite putting in an excellent performance, Liverpool’s front-line of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah were all unable to find the back of the net.
The game, which eventually ended 0-0, sealed Real Madrid’s place in the competition’s final four and naturally sent Klopp’s 2018-19 winners crashing out.
Although beating Real Madrid is never an easy task, former Reds full-back Enrique feels Klopp made a major error by not awarding defender Andy Robertson with the armband.
Speaking exclusively to Empire of the Kop, the now-retired pro said: “I believe Klopp has given Wijnaldum the armband as an appreciation for what he’s done before.
“He is not signing a contract, so for me, he would not be my captain when Virgil van Dijk, Hendo and Milner are not on the field. I would give it to Trent or Robbo, but I’d probably go for Robbo.
“I believe the way he plays and the way he always gives 100% makes him truly deserving of it. He is a top character.
“Gini is a legend of the club for what he’s done, but he’s leaving – I wouldn’t give the captaincy to someone who’s leaving.
“Obviously, I respect Klopp’s decision, and there’s no question about Gini’s performance last night – he was great! He’s one of the best midfielders in the world, still – and I don’t mind him thinking of his future. All players do the same, as he has one big contract left now he’s in his thirties…
“Thankfully we have Curtis Jones, who has the ability to grow into the team when Gini leaves.”
Wijnaldum is out of contract at the end of the season and has been hotly tipped to join Ronald Koeman at Barcelona.