Mark Lawrenson has claimed in his BBC Sport column that Jurgen Klopp made an error regarding Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian against Atletico Madrid, claiming he should have ordered the Spaniard to play the ball long.
Alisson was ruled out of the second leg against Atletico Madrid with a hip injury, meaning 33-year-old Adrian came into the side to make his 18th appearance for Liverpool – a stat he would never have believed when signing for the club last summer.
Indeed, Alisson’s injury issues with calf and hip problems – as well as Liverpool’s hectic fixture schedule – has seen Adrian play far more in a Liverpool shirt than he might have hoped. The Spaniard has conceded 24 goals, keeping just three clean sheets.
He was at fault for Atletico’s first goal, and arguably their third on Wednesday night – as Liverpool went from 2-0 up to 3-2 down in extra-time, eventually losing to Diego Simeone’s side. Lawrenson reckons Klopp should have changed tactics.
“I already knew there was a big gap between Liverpool’s first choice goalkeeper, Alisson, and Adrian,” Lawrenson said. “One of his problems is that he is not very good at coming out of his area and judging situations, and another is his kicking.
“Both of those issues played a part in Atletico’s first goal. Playing out from the back is in vogue at the moment. If you want to do that with Alisson, who is very good at it, then that is fine. But Adrian is not comfortable playing that way.
“So why not just tell him to stick it in the stands instead? Adrian is 33 so you are not going to change him, either. He is not going to suddenly become really good with the ball at his feet, and he is always going to have a mistake in him.”
TBR’s view – Does Adrian have a future at Liverpool beyond summer?
The Liverpool goalkeeper signed a two-year deal last summer at Anfield but given that he is likely to clock up 20 appearances in all competitions this season, Klopp may feel as though he needs another top-class stopper.
Liverpool have been linked with Turkish star Ugurcan Cakir and a move for the Trabzonspor goalkeeper is only going to become more likely following Adrian’s Wednesday howler. If Cakir, or another stopper is signed, Adrian will surely leave.