Paul Merson blamed Jurgen Klopp for the defeat of the Liverpool Champions League in Barcelona and said the manager had mistaken tactics at the Nou Camp. The Reds have a mountain to climb at Anfield next week after losing the first leg in the semifinal 3-0.
Liverpool fought well after Luis Suarez opened the scoring, but Lionel Messi in the second half seems to have sent Liverpool out of the Champions League. Mohamed Salah missed a glorious opportunity to score a crucial away goal late but Merson said the Egyptian star deserved no blame for the defeat.
“Salah should not be haunted by his failure against Barcelona,” writes Merson in a column of the Daily Star. “Liverpool’s defeat was Jurgen Klopp’s fault, not his own.” Liverpool has just fallen on Messi at the height of his powers, but I still think Klopp was wrong, why did he play Georgino Wijnaldum in the front?! “You play your best players in your best system when you face the best in the world. You’re not joking like that. Barcelona struggles with its rhythm and playing Wijnaldum has totally won their most powerful weapon. Why did he do it?
If Salah scored in the end, he would have had a priceless home goal and the match would be far from over. Liverpool is for me. But do not blame Salah. It was Klopp’s tactic that cost them. I just hope it does not affect them in the league. Klopp’s team hopes to keep their hopes of winning the Premier League title on Saturday night when they face Newcastle United at St James’s Park. Liverpool is currently one point behind defending champion Manchester City, two days from the end.
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