Football

Shearer slams Klopp for excuses after Merseyside Derby draw

Former England striker says Liverpool manager has only himself to blame for Merseyside Derby draw

Former England striker Alan Shearer has taken issue with Juergen Klopp's reaction following the 1-1 draw in Sunday's Merseyside Derby, insisting that the Liverpool manager has only himself to blame for not beating an Everton side that was there for the taking.

Klopp was fuming after the match, and got involved in a heated discussion with the referee Craig Pawson, who awarded Everton a late penalty, from which Wayne Rooney cancelled out Mohamed Salah's opening goal.

The German complained about the penalty decision in his post-match interviews, while also hinting at Everton's negative playing style.

He also defended his decision to leave in-form Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino out of his starting XI.

But, Shearer, speaking on the BBC's Match of the Day 2 programme, slammed Klopp for making excuses.

The Newcastle United legend said of the German's protest on the penalty decision: "It's rubbish.

"We've heard Klopp come on and say it was a terrible decision and there's only one team who were going to win it. Well, have a look at your own team selection.

"You've left out a guy who scored a hat-trick in midweek (Coutinho), and as a centre forward, I know that the time to be left out is when you're not scoring goals.

"You can't wait to get out on to the pitch when you're a forward and you're scoring goals."

Of Klopp's rotation policy, Shearer added: "Instead of putting in the guy who's still learning his trade (Dominic Solanke) in such an important game, play your big names.

"So, instead of blaming the referee, blame yourself and blame your players for stupid defending and not going 2-0 up when (Sadio) Mane went through."

Coutinho and Firmino eventually came on in the second half, but despite the result, Klopp insisted it was the right call.

He said: "I thought before the game, yes. After the game, still yes. Even when the result doesn't show it.

"I said before we can change as much as we want when we win games.

"When we don't win, I take the blame. I have no problem with that."

Everton manager Sam Allardyce claimed the decision to leave Coutinho and Firmino on the bench gave his side a psychological boost before kick-off.

"I would say so, yes," he said.

"They got an array of outstanding players who were still on the pitch.

"You had two of their best scorers on the pitch and we kept them extremely quiet. We might have kept Coutinho quiet if he had played."

Allardyce, however, disputed Klopp's version of events and praised Pawson for having the confidence of conviction to award Everton a spot-kick at Anfield.

Klopp had claimed that the decision to penalise Dejan Lovren for a perceived soft touch on Dominic Calvert-Lewin was a wrong one.

"Don't put your hands on a forward when he is in the box," Allardyce said.

"Don't mess with him, don't touch him and don't push him. If you do it, you run the risk of a penalty.

"He had no need to do it, he could have shepherded him away from goal where he was going.

"He didn't. He put his hands on and pushed him over. People can call it soft, but you don't do those things in the box today.

"The credit goes to Craig Pawson being brave enough to give it because I have had stats about years since Everton got a penalty (at Liverpool), which shows how tough it can be."

Former Fifa and English Premier League referee Graham Poll agreed, writing in his Daily Mail Column: "Pawson was absolutely right to award the visitors a penalty-kick. Of course, Calvert-Lewin went over easily, as players do these days.

"We can refer to it as a 'soft' penalty and Liverpool players and management can say they feel hard done to but Pawson was right.

"Given that Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp asked reporters for a show of hands in the post-match press conference, the majority said penalty.

I think the German probably already knew it was the right decision - otherwise he'd have just gone off on a rant about poor decisions costing his team." - WIRE SERVICES

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