17 Mar 2016

Liverpool vs. Man Utd: Massive snub as Klopp ignores 'outstanding' star; surprise start for 'fantastic' midfielder

As a result of Alberto Moreno's injury, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has made one change to the team for tonight's Premier League clash with Manchester United, and as expected, Klopp has ignored Brad Smith - a dedicated left-back - and opted to play James Milner out of position as a makeshift full-back.

FULL TEAM: Mignolet, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho, Milner, Can, Henderson, Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge.

SUBS: Ward, Toure, Smith, Allen, Ibe, Origi, Benteke.

MAN UTD: De Gea, Varela, Smalling, Blind, Rojo, Carrick, Fellaini, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Rashford

* 'Fantastic' Milner is obviously capable of doing a job at left/right back, but that's not the point. Smith is a dedicated left-back, and this is the equivalent of a Premier League game, so the idea that he can't handle it is, IMO, nonsense.

* What kind of message does this send to Smith, and indeed other young players? Klopp is basically saying he doesn't trust him in a big game, and I can't see how that amounts to effective man-management.

* Smith - hailed by Jan Molby as 'outstanding' - is 21, not 17! He's not a babe in the woods, and plenty of teams across Europe have 21-year olds playing regularly.

* As a comparison, Van Gaal is starting Rashford (18), and Martial (20), both of whom are younger that Smith, and he's doing that even though United are under bigger pressure than LFC.

* In October, Klopp made the following claim: "When I'm managing a club, each young player should smile because the chance is bigger than it ever was". What a load of disingenuous nonsense. Klopp has made a mockery of that claim today, and it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Smith follows Sinclair and Teixeira out the door this summer. Where's the incentive to stay if Klopp ignores young players for big games like this?

* This game is a great chance to build Smith's experience level, but instead of being progressive, Klopp has taken the retrograde step of playing it safe, despite the fact Liverpool have a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

On a different note, it looks like United have pulled a fast one here with the inclusion of Danny Blind in the starting line-up. The Manchester Evening news reported that Blind was out, but that's not actually the case.


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Author: Jaimie K


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