Reactions continue to trail Liverpool’s shock 3-2 Premier League defeat to Swansea City at Anfield on Saturday with former Reds defender Steve Nicol insisting Jurgen Klopp should have started Cameroon international.
Centreback Joel Matip had missed the previous two games due to ongoing issues over his eligibility to play for his club after turning down the chance to play for his country at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
FIFA cleared up the situation by revealing he could play against the Swans, but he remained on the bench until the closing stages when he was brought on and instead of paying in his natural habitat, Liverpool boss Klopp decided to play him up front, a tactical improvisation Nicol claims he finds difficult to fathom.
“There was one thing that I couldn’t understand that happened in the game,” Nicol told ESPN FC.
“Liverpool’s best defender, Matip, was sat on the bench. Why? And when he came on, he played centre forward. He’s sitting on the bench.
“For two weeks we’ve been moaning about ‘Oh he can’t play because he’s supposed to play at the Africa Cup of Nations’ and all of a sudden he’s not starting the guy. Why is he on the bench? He’s the best defender.”
The Swansea setback means Liverpool are now 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea with 22 matches played already this season.