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“Pathetic”: Is Garth Crooks right to criticise Jurgen Klopp for Liverpool draw?

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BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has hit out at Jurgen Klopp after the Reds were held to a 2-2 draw by West Brom, with Jake Livermore and Salomon Rondon cancelling out Liverpool‘s two goal lead.

In his BBC Sport Team of the Week column, Crooks slammed the Liverpool coach, criticising his tactics and team selection as well as his comments after the Baggies mounted a late comeback.

“Jurgen Klopp’s suggestion that the Albion pitch not being watered at half-time was somehow responsible for his team losing a two-goal lead is about as pathetic as it gets,” he wrote.

He also said that Liverpool “had two eyes firmly fixed on their mid-week Champions League game against Roma.”

“The Reds made five changes to their starting line-up, let a two-goal lead slip from their grasp and made a poor substitution.

“Yet manager Jurgen Klopp thinks he had nothing to do with this 2-2 result. Wow!”

It is hard to see exactly why Crooks took exception with such a move, given that even with the draw and assuming both Tottenham and Chelsea win their games in hand, Liverpool would still be in the top four by five points with three games left to play.

Given that, for the first time, all top four sides will qualify directly for the group stage, it is of little real consequence to the Reds if they finish in second or fourth and rotating is vital to have players fresh for a Champions League semi-final.

Klopp was criticised in 2016/17 for not rotating the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, leading to injuries, but he seems to be managing his squad more effectively this campaign.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

In one piece of praise, Crooks was pleased to see the return of Danny Ings, as he said “It was great to see Danny Ings back in a Liverpool shirt and looking so effective.”

“Two years he spent recovering from injury and, from the look on his face, putting Liverpool 1-0 up must have felt like winning the lottery.

“Why Klopp took off the striker, I don’t know. Ings needs game time and was running Ahmed Hegazi ragged at the time.

“The West Brom central defender must have been delighted to see Ings substituted. Liverpool’s game started to fall apart the moment the striker left the field.”

In fact, this criticism is the most bizarre of them all. Ings played over an hour for only the second time since October 2015 and was taken off in the 66th minute, replaced by a capable alternative in Roberto Firmino.

Mohamed Salah doubled Liverpool’s lead after that point and it was almost a quarter of an hour before Jake Livermore halved the deficit. Whilst Ings may not have been on the field for the collapse, correlation does not equal causation and Liverpool taking their foot off the gas and poor defending were to blame, rather than a substitution.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: £27 million striker move; Karius’ Turkish talks; Alisson preparations

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A new suitor could poach Divock Origi from Liverpool

The Liverpool Echo say that a surprising new interested party has emerged as Liverpool look to sell Divock Origi this summer, with Borussia Dortmund the latest club to have registered an interest in the Belgian, who has two years left on his Anfield contract.

However, the Reds are refusing to budge on their £27 million asking price which could prove to be problematic for the Bundesliga outfit. With only 11 days left in the transfer window, talks may be ongoing over the coming week and a half.

Loris Karius is edging closer to a Besiktas move

After his Champions League nightmare and the signing of Alisson Becker, the Mirror say that Loris Karius is close to an exit from Merseyside too. Jurgen Klopp has reportedly given his approval, provided that any offers for third choice Simon Mignolet goalkeeper would be rejected should Karius’ exit be confirmed.

Talks are ongoing between Karius and Turkish side Besiktas ahead of a potential loan move with a view to a permanent switch, which could suit all parties if it does come off before the deadline.

Alisson has been training with rugby tackling bags

New summer signing Alisson Becker has been training with rugby tackling bags in order to prepare him for what lies ahead in the Premier League, particularly with one eye on Monday’s trip to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace.

“It is not really rugby, it is goalkeeper training. All the boys did it. When Loris (Karius) came he did it, all the goalkeepers do it, and Alisson is doing it as well, of course. It is normal goalkeeper training. It makes sense to do it because the six-yard area is rather a proposal than a safety box for a goalkeeper… It is not that the goalkeeper has to change completely now for this league, we have to help him too in situations.”

Klopp made the confession and explained the reasoning behind it.

Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the sessions have taken place in his early days on Merseyside, though the coach insisted that it is normal practice for his goalkeepers.

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Liverpool

Liverpool round-up: Offer for Robertson; new deal for Grujic; Firmino wants title

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Liverpool are preparing a pay rise for Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson may only have joined the Reds last summer, but the Scottish defender is in line for a new contract which will doubles his wages, according to the Mirror. The club have been so impressed by his form since joining from Hull that they want to reward him with a pay rise.

The left-back became a regular for Jurgen Klopp after a slow start to life on Merseyside and more than justified his £10 million fee, which now looks a bargain.

Marko Grujic is set to sign a new deal and depart on loan

After rumours of an exit throughout the summer, Sky Sports say that young midfielder Marko Grujic will sign a new contract at Anfield until 2023 and then head out on loan to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin.

Grujic spent time with Cardiff as they won promotion from the Championship last season and was expected to return to Wales but a move never came to fruition and he will now go to Germany to continue his development.

Roberto Firmino has discussed his ambitions

Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino has spoken exclusively to the Mirror to give an interview in which he made it clear that him and his team-mates are aiming for the Premier League title this season.

“I am optimistic and I believe ­Liverpool are capable of fighting for the greatest success this season. I also think we have a better team than last season and that the new ­players will improve the performance of the team. We have shown in the last campaign that our dreams can be fulfilled and that we can return to the path of winning titles. This year, we must not fail and that is the attitude of the ­players. I’m only interested in Liverpool and winning everything I can with them. We know what it would mean to be champions.”

Firmino discussed his future.

The former Hoffenheim man is a fan favourite at Anfield and clearly has no plans to depart the club in the near future with his sights set on success under Jurgen Klopp.

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Liverpool round-up: Klopp demands more; Klavan explains exit; loans for youngsters

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Boss Jurgen Klopp has demanded more from Liverpool‘s fringe players

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has made it clear that he will not tolerate any complaints from unhappy fringe players this season as he relies on them to make their point on the training ground.

“I cannot make people happy, I never could. Whatever happens on 31 August there will be a specific point where it is clear that is the squad for the next four months until January. Who cannot be happy in these four months being part of the squad at Liverpool I cannot help. Everyone who trains on his highest level – because the decision has already been made that they are good enough to play for Liverpool – has a big chance to be an important part of the team, to stay in the team and all these things.”

Klopp won’t pander to any demands from his players.

The German did not hide his feelings having been forced to leave out the likes of Alberto Moreno and Ragnar Klavan last weekend, whilst Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren remain sidelined. Klavan has since left the club, and as the transfer market enters the final stages in other countries it appears more exits could be on the way.

Ragnar Klavan has revealed that two Liverpool players encouraged him to leave

Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan completed a £2 million move to Serie A side Cagliari on Friday just before the transfer deadline arrived in Italy, and he has explained his decision to leave Merseyside.

“I had offers from several teams, including in other countries, but Cagliari really wanted me. Darijo Srna advised me to come here, as I talked to him via Dejan Lovren. Other Liverpool teammates like Alisson, Salah and Lucas Leiva all spoke highly of Serie A.”

Klavan revealed the thoughts behind making the move.

Some fans may have been surprised to see him depart but given that he was entering into the final year of his contract and was unlikely to feature regularly with the likes of Matip, Lovren, Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk ahead of him, it makes sense.

Under 23s set for loan deals

The Liverpool Echo report that the final two weeks of the loan transfer window could see several under 23s players depart the club on loan in search of regular game time, joining the likes of Harry Wilson, Ben Woodburn, Ryan Kent and Ovie Ejaria who have already headed out on loan.

Many of those to feature for the team against Manchester United under 23s on Friday evening spent time out on loan last season, including Spanish midfielder Pedro Chirivella who was heavily involved in pre-season and was linked with a move away.

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