Wednesday 13 December 2017

John Aldridge: Why Jurgen Klopp was right to start a war of words with Gary Neville

Jurgen Klopp and (inset) Gary Neville
Jurgen Klopp and (inset) Gary Neville
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool goalscoring great John Aldridge is convinced Reds manager Jurgen Klopp was right to start a public feud with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville over his criticism of keeper Loris Karius.

Former Manchester United defender Neville and his brother Phil added high profile voices to the chorus of criticism flowing in the direction of Karius after a shaky start to his Liverpool career, with the keeper and his manager responding with some feisty comments of their own.

Despite Klopp’s defence of Karius, he then dropped the German stopper for last Wednesday’s Premier League game at Middlebrough, with his replacement Simon Mignolet set to hang on to a starting spot for Monday night’s Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield.

In a column for the, Aldridge suggested Klopp was compelled to stand up and defend Karius, as he argued Neville’s loyalties to his former Manchester United added fuel to the fire surrounding the incident that dominated the sports news agenda in the first half of last week.

“You might have questioned why Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp got himself embroiled in a verbal war with the Neville brothers over their criticism of his keeper Loris Karius, but there is a very simple reason why he felt the need to speak out,” wrote Aldridge.

“Klopp had to stand up for his player and I bet everyone in that Liverpool dressing room appreciated the manager’s words as he put the Neville’s in their place.

“He had probably already decided to take Karius out of his team for the Middlesbrough game and I also believe he got that call spot on as well.

“This is a 23-year-old keeper who is new to English football and he has found it hard in his first few weeks as Liverpool’s No.1.

“There was no point in prolonging the agony for Karius and if he had gone out at the Riverside Stadium and made a mistake in a game Liverpool needed to win, the pressure on him would have been cranked up yet again.

Loris Karius must fight to win his place back in the Liverpool team.

“Karius (above) has had plenty of chances to prove his worth in the Liverpool goal and right now, he doesn’t look ready for me and I’m pleased to see Simon Mignolet return as he is one of the best shot-stoppers in the game.

“Klopp has played this situation out brilliantly and it is another example of how he is getting so many things right at Liverpool, on and off the field.

“Get Mignolet back into the team and maybe Karius will back from this experience as a better player. That is what Klopp will be hoping.”

Aldridge went on to suggest the criticism of Karius was impossible to ignore as it came from two high profile former Manchester United players, as he claims ex-Liverpool players are more entitled to pass judgement on the Klopp’s first team squad.

“Jamie Carragher and I have also expressed our opinion that Karius has not looked convincing between the posts for Liverpool so far,” he added.

“Those opinions come across differently when two ex-Liverpool players make what is constructive criticism with the best interests of our club at heart.

“The Neville’s are Manchester United through and through and when they start slagging off a Liverpool player who is in the middle of a sticky patch, it comes from a different perspective.”

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