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9 Dec 2016

Anfield Smackdown: Nicol blasts Klopp for 'nonsense' decision to snub £55k-a-week Liverpool star

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Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has slammed Jurgen Klopp for continually playing square pegs in round holes.

When asked this week about Liverpool's defensive weaknesses, Nicol told ESPN:

"Why is Klavan not playing? Why is Lucas playing ahead of Klavan? The reason can only be this new ‘play it out from the back' nonsense".

Like many fans, I was surprise to see Lucas starting ahead of Klavan, who is a massively experienced central defender with 116 caps for the Estonia national team.

It doesn't make sense: what is the point of signing Klavan if he is not going to be used when Liverpool need him the most?!

In my view, Klopp's snub (and it's not the first time) is an insult to Klavan, and basically amounts to a very public vote of no-confidence.

It's simple: if Klopp trusted Klavan, he would've started him in the recent league games against Watford and Bournemouth.

On a related note: the intense criticism of Lucas after the Bournemouth debacle was over the top (IMO). Milner, Lovren, Karius, and the central midfielders arguably deserve the bulk of the criticism, and if you watch the goals carefully, Lucas wasn't directly at fault for any of them:

* Goal 1: Milner gave away a penalty.

* Goal 2: Milner woefully out of position, which opened up acres of space on the left. Lovren forced to go out wide to cover, and failed to block the cross, then three LFC players (including Lucas) failed to clear the pull-back.

* Goal 3: Milner exposed on the left again. 5 Liverpool players failed to clear the cross into the box.

* Goal 4: Karius spilled a shot, which led to the goal.

Lucas is not the answer in that centre-back position, but he's not as terrible as some make out. He's an easy target, but it's Klopp's choice to continually play him out of position (ditto Milner).

* Klavan: Reportedly on £55k-a-week.


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